Kõlvart to run for Center chair
Deputy chairman of the Center Party, Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart has decided to run for chairman at Center's upcoming extraordinary congress.
"I am ready to run [for chairman]," Kõlvart said on Vikerraadio Wednesday morning.
"While this is not me announcing my program and I will officially make my intentions known to fellow party members first, I will not be beating around the bush and suggesting I'm still thinking about it," Kõlvart said.
The Tallinn mayor said he is not running to stage a coup, adding that he does not subscribe to such an approach. "No one member can say they own the party."
"Times are always difficult lately. And we need the [extraordinary] congress to be able to move forward with confidence. And if someone feels it is a crisis, I say we need to weather it in order to avoid bigger crises inside the party in the future," Kõlvart remarked.
Talking about potential mistakes Center has made, Kõlvart suggested the party has not had the clearest messages in recent years.
"Before the previous elections, we said that we would not work with a particular party (referring to the Conservative People's Party – ed.), while we joined that very party in a coalition after the elections."
"This naturally causes our voter to question our principles and main goals," Kõlvart added.
"Once in the new coalition, it was unclear whether we were part of the coalition or rather the opposition. Finally, we were thrown out," Kõlvart remarked.
He said that while no one person can be saddled with the blame, conclusions need to be drawn.
Talking about the chairman's responsibility after Center lost ten seats at elections, Kõlvart suggested that current chairman Jüri Ratas is feeling that responsibility by running the party in this difficult situation. "I believe that is what he believes and I do not hold it against him. Yes, that too is responsibility. Active responsibility is worth more than passive responsibility," the mayor said.
Asked whether he trusts Ratas to run the party, Kõlvart said that cooperation needs to continue and unity must be restored irrespective of who is elected chairman.
Kõlvart later gave an interview to ETV morning show "Terevisioon" where he said that, according to his sources, current chairman Jüri Ratas plans to run against him in the election. "I gather that the esteemed chairman plans to run too, which I see as a positive signal to the party and not a problem."
The Tallinn mayor also said Center should pay more attention to its structure. "It seems to me that the regions have not been paid enough attention lately," Kõlvar suggested, adding that elections results were weaker in places that have been overlooked lately.
Center leader Jüri Ratas said on Tuesday evening that he will propose convening an extraordinary congress of the Center Party for April 15.
The Center Party lost ten seats at the 2023 Riigikogu elections. It landed 26 seats after the 2019 elections.
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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Marcus Turovski