Züleyxa Izmailova will not continue as Estonian Greens chair

Züleyxa Izmailova.
Züleyxa Izmailova. Source: Private collection

The chairwoman of the Estonian Greens Züleyxa Izmailova announced that she would not run for the position at the party assembly in January. Marko Kaasik and Johanna Maria Tõugu are likely to be the main candidates.

"I will not run of chairwoman again. I think it is time for change. I have been the head of this wagon for some time, it is now time for new people and new energy," Izmailova told ERR on the 15th anniversary of the Estonian Greens.

Izmailova noted that she has not been able to win over the votes of supporters of other parties. "I hope that we get leaders for the party that take us to the next level. So that the achievements that we have reached within the organization and society would be taken and moved on with," the Greens chairwoman said.

She said she will now focus on her studies and family, but will certainly not leave politics and will remain an active member of the Estonian Greens. "I will certainly be active in politics, you cannot shut me up. I have strong positions on several issues and I plan on expressing them in the future."

She did not say whether or not she would run for a position on the party's board and added that leading the Greens is a role, which many do not have the proper vision of. "We do not have state budget support and must find our own resources. It is a tough job."

Responding to a question about what she considers to be her greatest achievement as the leader of the Estonian Greens, Izmailova said that she was able to involve different specialists from an environment and communication perspective.

The Greens co-chair said the Greens have affected all Estonian parties. "Although we have not been in parliament for the last 10 years, the way we have changed society and made other parties greener is our greatest achievement. We see today that practically all parties have some green topics, even Isamaa and EKRE."

Izmailova noted that the party should make an effort to be able to hire people for posts such as secretary-general and spokesperson. The resources should be taken from donations.

She said that the Greens general assembly is set to take place in January and new leaders, a new management and a new council will be chosen. Marko Kaasik and Johanna Maria Tõugu have expressed interest in running the party, Izmailova said she hopes to see someone from outside the party also run for the position of chairman.

Izmailova was elected to be the Estonian Greens chairwoman in March 2017. From November 2017 to April 2019, she worked as a deputy mayor in Tallinn. She was also previously a member of the Social Democratic Party.

The general assembly was initially supposed to take place on November 20, but it was delayed due to the spread of the coronavirus. Many saw the Greens' results at the recent local government elections as a failure, as did party co-chair Kaspar Kurve, who resigned shortly after the elections.

The Estonian Greens received 6,307 votes nationwide, good for 1.1 percent of the total results. The party made it into the local government council in only Antsla municipality, getting two seats in the 19-member council.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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