Ratas to propose convening extraordinary Center Party congress

Jüri Ratas.
Jüri Ratas. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Chairman of the Center Party, which lost big in the March 5 general election, Jüri Ratas will make a proposal to the party's council to convene an extraordinary congress on April 15.

Ratas said the congress is necessary for Center to move on.

The chairman remarked that Center's election result has prompted different opinions in terms of why things turned out this way and what kind of change is needed. The party's board convened to discuss the matter on Tuesday evening.

"I find that landing on 16 mandates is not reason for Center to sever its roots and make drastic changes. However, we will need to update our program, boost competencies and focus more clearly on the social domain, healthcare, environmental and economic topics, as well as matters of education and young people, their problems," Ratas said.

He admitted the party has made mistakes to which solutions need to be found.

Ratas said it pays to keep in mind the situation in which Center put in the third best showing at Riigikogu elections. "It is clear security was setting the tone after Russia's aggression in Ukraine. The Center Party clearly affirmed Estonian and European positions in its messages, principles and values and emphasized the importance of helping Ukraine, which was the right thing to do," Ratas remarked.

At the same time, the confrontation of the Reform Party and EKRE left Center in the background where its messages were not sufficiently visible.

Center's elections budget was considerably smaller than other parties', which also set limits. Even so, the party managed just one mandate fewer than EKRE from which position it can rise and move forward," Ratas found.

"Convening an extraordinary congress makes it more difficult to launch work in the Riigikogu and regions, while the chairman and board need a clear mandate from members to move on."

An extraordinary congress can be convened by the council or one-third of the party's members.

Center's next regular congress was scheduled for mid-2024. The congress will elect the party's chairman and 14-member board, honorary court chair and audit committee.

The Center Party got 16 mandates from the March general election, losing ten mandates compared to four years ago.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Marcus Turovski

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