Tanel Kiik will be the Center Party's new Riigikogu chief whip at the XV Riigikogu, replacing Jaanus Karilaid.
Kiik was voted into the post, with the party's Riigikogu group vice chairs to be Andrei Korobeinik and Vadim Belobrovtsev.
Party leader Jüri Ratas said he "I also highly appreciate [Kiik's] contribution to the development of the Center Party as an organization, both in the preparation of various election platforms and as the party's deputy chair," adding that through his previous roles – Tallinn deputy mayor, minister of health and labor and minister of social affairs – Kiik proved himself to be an inclusive leader, with a strong societal awareness.
It was in the ministerial posts in particular that Kiik became prominent, since he held them, in the Center-EKRE-Isamaa coalition, followed by the Reform-Center coalition, during the pandemic.
Kiik, who previously worked as an adviser to Ratas, said that Center has as an opposition party the task of standing up for the people of Estonia, adding that his two deputies also reflect Center's worldview.
Belobrovtsev has, like Kiik, opted to take up the Riigikogu seat he won on March 5, meaning having to vacate his Tallinn deputy mayoral position.
The vote which ended in Kiik's selection also hints at the potential level of support for Ratas as leader, ahead of potential internal elections due to a leadership challenge Ratas faces from Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart.
Center lost 10 seats on March 5, compared with its tally in 2019, and is no longer the largest opposition party, having one fewer than the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE – the latter has 17 and itself lost two seats compared with the XIV Riigikogu).
Editor: Andrew Whyte