Greens co-chairman: We are weak, leaders must take responsibility
The co-chairman of the Estonian Greens Kaspar Kurve told ERR that party leadership should take responsibility for the party's failure at the local government elections last week and that he plans to do so.
What assessment would you give to the Greens elections results here in Estonia? You were only able to receive two seats in the council at Antsla, one of which will be filled by you.
To put it bluntly, we did bad, none of us are pleased and our main focus was on Tallinn and Tartu. I am happy about how we have developed as a party over the last year, we have a lot of new and active young people, who believe in our common agenda, which is no longer just environmental. This is priority number one, but we have also extended our grasp from a worldview perspective.
Speaking of results, it is certainly a loss for us. Our leaders must take responsibility and I will certainly do so. We failed and if I say it is our loss, I still think it is a loss for Estonian municipality governments that green ideas are not represented well. Antsla being the exception, we did unexpectedly well here.
But what was the main factor in this lack of success?
There are multiple aspects and I have analyzed them by myself quite a bit. We will have a board meeting tonight (on Tuesday - ed), where we will draw conclusions and come clean. We are weak, it was inevitable. We must admit it, there is no one else to blame. We must be smarter, do better, try harder for these messages to reach people.
It is also the financial side, we do not have support from the state budget as other parties do. Our campaign was rather basic.
Some things were certainly behind us not being in the public picture as much, that is certainly a factor. But I still consider us having to be better, act better, more effectively, try harder to be more important and this result will eventually come.
So the issue is more in the messaging than organization?
I would say one does not rule out the other. Both messages and the organization failed somewhat. And that is how it is. These numbers speak for themselves and I am not trying to find excuses here. We have to look in the mirror and try significantly harder than before.
If I understand you correctly, you intend to step down as co-chairman? Will the other co-chairman Züleyxa Izmailova do the same?
You will have to ask Züleyxa Izmailova, I cannot answer that question. But it seems elementary to me that a leader is responsible for the results and their party. We have failed. I will take the responsibility. And although I have a mandate as party co-chairman for two years, I will certainly not do this second year, I want to give new people the chance. Riigikogu elections are coming soon and I personally believe we need new faces.
I am glad we actually have people in the party that are capable of filling these positions effectively. I am still very hopeful for the Greens as a party, things will be better.
Will you arrange an extraordinary meeting or wait for a regular general assembly?
An extraordinary assembly will be arranged within this calendar year either way. I will continue to be co-chairman going forward, I will be there for my party colleagues as I have always been. But yes, in this calendar year, when the assembly takes place, I will step down from my leadership position.
Setting our sights on Riigikogu elections, what corrections should the Greens make? Is a green worldview enough at a time when almost all parties are dealing with the green transition?
I would certainly not put an equals sign between a green worldview and the green transition. The green transition to me is one aspect of a green worldview. It is undoubtedly important. But a green worldview is significantly more systemic. It is about our attitude toward the environment around us.
We cannot only talk about a transition for energy. We must speak about changing attitudes and habits. The criticism about us has always been about being a one-issue party, but we have extended our grasp.
There have been arguments within our party about our worldview for years now. We have represented a wide array of people, in actuality. There have been people on the right, even nationalists, but also people on the left. We have done a lot to have a consensus in our party about our worldview and topics.
What values are important for the Greens?
We consider human rights, social justice, socio-economic inequality and traditional green topics important. What is happening to our forests, what is happening with our energy sector and so on. We want to involve experts to speak on these issues. We need to make the Greens more trustworthy for those people as well. But I think there are many of these issues and we must now begin to work on them, analyze them. We must find out what to focus on and what not to focus on.
Where would you place your party on a left-right worldview scale?
In economic terms, I would place the Greens on the left and we are certainly liberal in terms of human rights on a conservative-liberal scale.
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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste