Isamaa Chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder on Tuesday said he will not stand for the role again at the upcoming party assembly on June 10.
"I have decided not to run for the chairman of the party at the upcoming General Assembly and to give this opportunity to a person who has the ambition and will to commit to shaping the party and Estonian politics in the coming years as the chairman of Isamaa. Fortunately, there are many such people in the party. It is with a calm heart, but also with positive expectations, that I hand over the baton," he wrote in a letter to party members.
Seeder, who became chairman in 2017, said the period has been "a hard-working, challenging and sometimes painful period in the development of the party".
"We need new momentum and change to deliver successful policies for the future while maintaining our core values," the politician wrote.
Seeder could not be reached for comment on Tuesday evening.
Isamaa Secretary General Priit Sibul told ERR that the decision is somewhat surprising, but acting as chairman for six years is a long time.
"I have been secretary general [for these six years] and this period has been a very intense period in Isamaa's life. In this sense, it is also somewhat understandable that new people should be given a chance," he said.
The MP said he has not decided if he will run for chairman or not.
"This news is so fresh I haven't thought about it. But I am sure that on June 10, Isamaa will have a good new chairman," he said.
Candidates must submit their applications by the end of the week.
Isamaa had a disappointing result at the last election on March 5, losing a third of its seats. In 2019, the party won 12 seats but it only retained eight this year and is now in opposition.
Editor: Johannes Voltri, Marko Tooming, Helen Wright