Center Party politician Edgar Savisaar made a huge contribution to the development of the Estonian state and politics, party Chairman Jüri Ratas said on Thursday after the news of his death was announced.
"This evening brought the deeply sad news that a great figure of Estonian politics, Edgar Savisaar, has passed away. His contribution to our politics and the development of the country has been huge. Savisaar laid the foundations of the Popular Front, made an invaluable contribution to the restoration of Estonia's independence, and served the country of Estonia as prime minister, several times as minister, and as a long-serving mayor of Tallinn. He also founded and led Estonia's largest political party, the Center Party, for over 20 years," Ratas said.
He added that Savisaar's dedication and consistent work had been an example to many colleagues and people who "had the honor of knowing him".
"I express my sincere condolences to his family members, relatives, friends and party colleagues. Rest in peace, dear Edgar!" the chairman said.
Ratas took over as leader of the Center Party from Savisaar in 2016.
He told ERR that Savisaar added a lot of substance to the party and helped to develop the organization.
"There was a lot to learn from Edgar. He was certainly very thorough in preparing his activities. I also think that Edgar was the one who noticed the pressure points in society that had not been noticed for a long time," Ratas said.
"It was certainly interesting to hear him talk about events related to the period when Estonia regained its independence."
Editor: Marko Tooming, Madis Hindre, Helen Wright