ERJK deputy head: Registration of Koos party raises questions

Kaarel Tarand.
Kaarel Tarand. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Tartu County Court on May 8 registered the Koos movement as a political party after it presented all necessary documentation, including a list of members. The court had previously found several shortcomings, which the Political Parties Funding Surveillance Committee (ERJK) finds have not been completely removed.

The registration department of the Tartu County Court registered the Koos organisatsioon osutab suveräänsusele party on May 8.

At the same time, a look at the business register reveals that its members were registered between May 16-18, or after the party itself was registered.

Tartu County Court told ERR that all necessary documentation was presented to the court, including a list of at least 500 members. And indeed, the party had 507 members according to the registration documents.

The court clarified that the discrepancy regarding is likely down to the party adding the names to the business register at a later date.

The number of members had grown to 533 by Friday.

The court had previously ordered the Koos movement to eliminate three shortcomings in its initial application.

These included faulty personal codes of members, some names being entered twice or persons who were still registered as members of another party at the time.

Delfi also wrote that actor Margus Prangel joined the party on May 17, while Prangel said he knows nothing about it and has not joined the Koos party.

Listed as the party's board members are Eduard Fedotov, Leila Eerits, Aleksei Teterev, Oleg Ivanov and Julia Smoli.

ERJK: things should be clear from day one

While the Political Parties Financing Surveillance Committee (ERJK) is not in charge of registration supervision, ERJK deputy chair Kaarel Tarand said the Koos party has and continues to raise some questions.

"While documents are usually filed and members known before a party is registered, the latter took some time in this case. The party was registered on May 8, while its members list only appeared yesterday (Thursday – ed.). It is difficult to find more detailed info on the party, because even though the Political Parties Act provides that a party needs to have a website, theirs is currently that of the former Koos movement," Tarand said.

The Koos website still describes the organization as a movement. "A social movement for peace and the stable development of Estonia."

Tarand suggested that it heralds problems when a party's leaders don't know the rules from day one. "While it is not ERJK's business now, it will be in three months' time when the new party's members will come to realize they have not fully grasped their reporting and financing obligations," Tarand suggested.

The ERJK deputy head also criticized the party's statutes and myriad linguistic equivocations therein. "Someone should have advised them on that too. There are many questions in the air," Tarand said.

Koos activist detained by ISS

The Koos/Vmeste movement became known around the time of the 2023 Riigikogu elections when its leading figure Aivo Peterson ran for parliament in the ranks of the United Left Party and took 3,969 votes, falling fewer than 1,000 votes short of taking a personal mandate.

The Estonian Internal Security Service detained Peterson and two other men on March 11, following suspicions of establishing a relationship against the state. The men were placed under arrest for two months following the prosecution's request.

The party's election program includes a prohibition on destroying monuments ("Accepting history as an irrevocable fact") as well as that Estonia's defense spending should not exceed 1 percent of GDP.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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