Outgoing Isamaa chairman backs all three candidates for his replacement

Helir-Valdor Seeder (Isamaa).
Helir-Valdor Seeder (Isamaa). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Outgoing Isamaa chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder told ERR in an interview that while there were members who wanted to see him go, he did not feel pressured to leave and decided for himself. Seeder, who plans to remain active in politics, backs all three chairman candidates – Urmas Reinsalu, Tõnis Lukas and Lea Danilson-Järg

Seeder said that six years is long enough at the head of a political party and that it is time to pass the baton, give others a chance. He said, when prompted, that while there are always different opinions in parties, he never felt pressured to resign as chairman. Seeder also refuted what he described as efforts in the media to paint Isamaa as an autocratic party, adding that chairman elections have always seen several candidates.

The outgoing Isamaa leader said that he has signed off on and equally supports the bids of Urmas Reinsalu, Tõnis Lukas and Lea Danilson-Järg for the next Isamaa leader.

Asked how should the new chairman go about shaking things up at Isamaa, Seeder suggested the party needs to be better at getting its messages across as its image as a political party is not what Isamaa would like or even feels it is. "Therefore, we're talking about working with the public, media, messages and shaping the party's image as key areas where the new chair will have to be more active and successful," he said. Seeder added that Isamaa also needs new members and to attract more young people.

He said that he does not feel Isamaa should give up its core values or become a completely different party ideologically. "I am mostly referring to the media and the press who find that conservative policy is a thing of the past, that there is no more adequate or modern conservative policy that can keep up with the world, and that there can only be different shades of liberalism. I do not think so. I also think most Isamaa members don't think so, and that Estonian politics does not need yet another liberal party, leaving EKRE the monopoly on conservatism, whereas I don't even find them to be a conservative party in the classical sense."

Seeder was asked what mistakes he feels he has made at the head of Isamaa, seeing as its Riigikogu seats have dropped from 14 to eight in the meantime. He said that policy is king from which perspective Isamaa has been the most successful political party over those six years. The outgoing chairman suggested that bold yet necessary decisions can be unpopular, and that Isamaa has pursued the right kind of policy. He also recalled that Isamaa's rating was just 4.5 percent when he took over running the party.

"I believe that no major and fundamental mistakes have been made at Isamaa during that time, while the things I previously highlighted as priorities could have been better handled also under my leadership."

Seeder said that the Parempoolsed splinter group leaving Isamaa has ultimately benefited everyone involved because it is impossible to build a party inside an existing one and that instead, "people who carry different values and have very different ideas about a lot of things can create their own party."

Prompted on what chairman candidate Lea Danilson-Järg said in terms of Isamaa having become complacent following regular major donations from businessman and member Parvel Pruunsild, Seeder agreed that it is always good to diversify sources of funding. However, he assured that Pruunsild has never asked for anything concrete in return for his support.

Seeder said that he plans to stay active in politics and will continue as an MP and member of the Viljandi City Council. "I will continue being politically active on all levels."


Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!

Editor: Marcus Turovski

Hea lugeja, näeme et kasutate vanemat brauseri versiooni või vähelevinud brauserit.

Parema ja terviklikuma kasutajakogemuse tagamiseks soovitame alla laadida uusim versioon mõnest meie toetatud brauserist: