EKRE and Isamaa see no threat in Pruunsild's donation

Põlluaas and Reinsalu.
Põlluaas and Reinsalu. Source: Siim Lõvi/Kairit Leibold/ERR

Conservative right-wing EKRE and Isamaa politicians see no cause to return the substantial contribution from businessman Parvel Pruunsild, despite the reasons given by the Center Party.

Recently, the entrepreneur Parvel Pruunsild gave €1 million to three opposition parties. Thursday, however, the Center Party's board resolved to return the €300,000 given to them after a vote.

According to the vice chairman of the Center Party, Mihhail Kõlvart, it would have been risky for the party to receive such a donation, as both the party and the donor are involved in influence peddling criminal proceedings. However, the party's chair Jüri Ratas, declined to return the donation, and the party's executive council effectively broke up.

Henn Põlluaas, vice-chair of EKRE, told ERR that the party does not perceive any threats here. "We don't see any risks here. This is certainly a worldview donation for protecting traditional European values, and we are incredibly appreciative," Põlluaas told ERR.

Põlluaas called the positions emphasized by the Center Party leadership strange.

"When we look at the claims leveled against Parvel, we can see that they are obviously made up and cannot be taken seriously. The fact that the Center Party refused to acknowledge it demonstrates their divide more than anything else," Põlluaas said.

According to Põlluaas, EKRE and Parvel Pruunsild share worldview to a great extent. "Parvel Pruunsild has supported the way out of the current crisis for years. We have the lowest birth rate in a century, and it is precisely this family policy and support for children that will bring us out of this demographic crisis by increasing the birth rate. In fact, EKRE has always stood for these principles. Given the circumstances, it is only natural for Pruunsild to support our party. In this respect, we are in agreement," he said.

Up until now, it has been the EKRE's policy not to take corporate donations, instead relying on member contributions for its existence and growth.

"When we examine all of the donations made to various political parties over the years, we discover that they are, in effect, the placing of orders and the purchase of specific drafts, and that these subsidies are granted on the condition that the recipient represents the interests of certain businessmen in the state legislature. We disagree and will not accept donations under these circumstances. If the support for our activities, ideas and goals is merely ideological, we have no objections and will gratefully accept it," Põlluaas said.

Reinsalu: I see no ethical or legal problem with the donation

Urmas Reinsalu, chair of the national-conservative Isamaa, told ERR that the Center Party's decision to return Pruunsild's donation is the result of intraparty conflict.

He said he does not see any risks in connection with Pruunsild's donation, which Mihhail Kõlvart cited as reasons for returning the donation. "No, I believe that these were reasons that were given by Kõlvart, but his ethical concerns did not ring sincere to me," Reinsalu said.

Reinsalu said that Kõlvart would benefit from a worsening financial situation within the Centre Party, while he himself would have access to the resources of the Tallinn city government.

Priit Humala, the deputy mayor of Tartu, and Parvel Pruunsilda, an entrepreneur, are suspected by the ISS of a particularly severe violation of procedural restrictions; Reinsalu is not troubled by Pruunsild's current criminal proceedings in relation to influence peddling.

"This case has nothing to do with this donation, and I see no ethical or legal issue with it," said Reinsalu.

"We are very grateful to all of our supporters for supporting the policies of our party. It is in our best interest to increase Isamaa's influence as a viable alternative to the current government," Reinsalu added.

Up until now, Pruunsild has primarily provided financial support to Isamaa. ERR asked Reinsalu regarding Pruunsild's support for the two other opposition parties.

"If his motivation was that these parties have supported family policy and are opposed to the current administration's efforts to eliminate family policy, then it is only natural that he has supported multiple parties based on this premise," Reinsalu said.


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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Kristina Kersa

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