'Rahva teenrid': Isamaa's treatment of in-house opposition interesting

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Isamaa general assembly in Tartu. Source: Kuldar Jürma/ERR

Chairman of the opposition Isamaa party Helir-Valdor Seeder, who was recently elected for a second term, threw members of Isamaa's in-house opposition overboard in his general assembly speech. Changes to the party's statute make evicting members easier, which is why it will be interesting to see what Isamaa will do about its dissidents and where they will land on election lists, journalists found on the Vikerraadio "Rahva teenrid" talk show.

Seeder told members of the party in his speech: "The dividing line in Estonian politics runs straight through Isamaa today and has largely been imported by people who are not patriots, nationalists or conservatives, who are not even right-wingers (meaning of the group's name "Parempoolsed" - ed.).

Isamaa members also supported amendments to the party's articles at the general assembly that make it easier to evict people from the party and its board.

Journalists discussed what all this could mean for Isamaa's in-house opposition standing behind Lavly Perling who lost the chairman election to Seeder after taking a third of votes.

Editor-in-Chief of Õhtuleht Martin Šmutov found that Seeder suggesting people who refuse to toe the party line will be told goodbye in his speech was a taste of things to come. "Suggesting not that they will say goodbye themselves but that they will indeed be thrown out."

Host Mirko Ojakivi recalled that when the Center Party evicted Olga Ivanova, the party's statute stood in the way of removing her from the board. Isamaa has now removed any such obstacles, likely in preparation for throwing out members.

Šmutov said he believes Perling and her camp will be put in their place at the bottom of election lists at local and Riigikogu elections. The other possibility would be to sue for reconciliation.

Ojakivi pointed out that just four Parempoolsed members made the Isamaa board against 16 people from Seeder's camp.

Heidit Kaio said that the in-house opposition was quite formidable in the Center Party, while it was still allowed to exist. Center's dissidents eventually yielded Kadri Simson and Jüri Ratas.

"A strong leader can suffer an opposition," Kaio said.

Ojakivi recalled that Ratas was dropped to the bottom of the Center election list at the time but still ended up becoming Center chairman and prime minister.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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