Isamaa MP Viktoria Ladõnskaja-Kubits has joined the "Right-wingers" (Estonian: Parempoolsed) faction of the party, a group which, despite its name, says it pursues a more inclusivist approach than the party mainstream.
Ladõnskaja-Kubits said she believes the party must become a much more open and broad-based party.
She said: "For me, the main question is how to protect the worldview of Isamaa as well as possible. This cannot be done by restricting politics to the level of an elite small group and addressing individual niche issues."
Ladõnskaja-Kubits opposed referendum on marriage
What these niche issues might be the MP is not quoted as having mentioned, but the party is largely on the national-conservative side and joined with the Center Party and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) in tabling a bill which would have held a referendum on the definition of marriage.
The policy was EKRE's and was inserted into the coalition agreement the three parties signed in 2019. Had it been held it would have posed as a question whether the respondent thought marriage should be defined in legislation as between one man and one woman.
Ladõnskaja-Kubits was one of several Isamaa MPs who expressed their opposition to the bill, mainly via a social media "badge."
In any event, following the resignation of Jüri Ratas as prime minister last month, the party, both Isamaa and EKRE found themselves in opposition.
Center remained in office, in a new coalition with Reform, but the marriage bill was scrapped.
Right-wingers' chair: MP will contribute well
"[Reestablishing Isamaa's worldview] must be done on a broad basis, involving in the political path those who want to contribute to Estonia's future and freedom. If Isamaa wants to become a party of prime ministerial ambition again, the party must not be afraid to change. We need an update and an adjustment of political direction and strategy," Ladõnskaja-Kubits continued, according to BNS.
The Right-wingers' chair, Kristjan Vanaselja, welcomed the news.
"The Right-wingers are currently working to draw up a plan and vision for Isamaa. The moment is right for discussions on how the party should move forward, and Viktoria's thoughts will definitely serve as good contribution here," Vanaselja said.
Ladõnskaja-Kubits said that the feeling was mutual.
She said: "I can see a power in the Right-wingers which can contribute to providing solutions to the new challenges facing society. I am also pleased that there is no fear of discussion among the Right-wingers' members, and they are ready to involve and take into account the views of all other party associations and chapters. Disagreements must not be feared within Isamaa; a party is a political family where every opinion is a great strength."
Isamaa back in opposition
Another policy Isamaa held in its own right was liberalizing the so-called second pillar of the Estonian pension scheme, referring to employer/employee contributions, which has been made voluntary to belong to whereas it had been mandatory for most wage earners since 2010.
Isamaa is polling only around a percentage point above the 5 percent threshold required, in an election, to win seats, a position it has been in on and off for several years.
As Isamaa, the party has not had a prime minister, though one of its forebears, Res Publica, last provided a prime minister in Juhan Parts around 15 years ago. This was followed by a merger with Pro Patria, to become IRL, being rebranded in 2018 as Isamaa.
The party held several key ministerial posts in the last administration, including the foreign (Urmas Reinsalu), defense (Jüri Luik) and justice (Raivo Aeg) roles. It had been in office for several years, first with Reform and the Social Democrats (SDE), then with Center and SDE followed by the Center/EKRE/Isamaa lineup.
Editor: Andrew Whyte