Outgoing Isamaa leader: Coalition parties are in SALK's pocket

Helir-Valdor Seeder at Isamaa's congress in Tallinn, Saturday, June 10, 2023.
Helir-Valdor Seeder at Isamaa's congress in Tallinn, Saturday, June 10, 2023. Source: Siim Lõvi / ERR

The March 5 elections and the entry into office of the Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coaliiton was the work of a shadowy liberal think-tank, outgoing Isamaa chair Helir-Valdor Seeder says.

Seeder opted not to seek reelection following the March 5 Riigikogu election; former ministers in the last administration Lea Danilson-Järg, Tõnis Lukas and Urmas Reinsalu were the candidates to replace him, with Reinsalu winning the vote by a wide margin Saturday afternoon.

In his valedictory speech as leader, Seeder singled out think-tank the Liberal Citizen Foundation (SALK), which he claims is essentially the brains behind the Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition, and which had led it to victory after the March 5 election gave the alignment 60 seats between the three parties.

Seeder claims SALK shaped and coordinated the current coalition's policies, election campaign and financing

He said: "With some concern, we need to admit that the present-day coalition parties are not independent political forces, but are branches of an illicit umbrella party. and simply a lure to trap voters."

"The last election results were forged in the crucible of illegal and unfair competition, and by using political 'doping'. This sad realization does not derive from bitterness, but a major concern for the future of the Estonian political system," Seeder went on.

"A situation and actions like this directly contravene the spirit of the Estonian Constitution and the country's legislation, not to mention honest politics," adding that political party watchdog the Political Parties Financing Surveillance Committee (ERJK) should be wary of what is happening.

Seeder called the developments "extremely dangerous," adding there was "no need for an external enemy, any more."

Because his party refused to go along with this strategy of opposition and exclusion, Seeder said, it was punished at the polls, for that and for being willing to cooperate with other parties.

"The willingness to cooperate for the sake of Estonia's future became the main framer of Isamaa's election result in 2023, and in a negative way," he went on.

Ultimately Isamaa should be a party with clear positions and not one that tries to capture too wide a spectrum, he added, no doubt a reference to the Isamaa "left", many of whom quit the party, formed a new political party (Parempoolsed) or were ejected, or left politics altogether – Viktoria Ladõnskaja-Kubits is a good example of the last of these.

Seeder effectively said that the party was better off without such members in its ranks.

He also attacked the actions of the current Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition, including on its plans to legalize same-sex marriages, while making his speech.

A former agriculture minister, Seeder became Isamaa leader, or of IRL as it was then known, in 2017.

The PPA said earlier this week it has received a criminal complaint about SALK's activities during the Riigikogu election campaign earlier this year. SALK's director, Tarmo Jüristo, said at the time that he is unaware of who might have submitted the complaint.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mait Ots

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