Ratas and Kiik: Dozens contemplating quitting Center

Tanel Kiik and Jüri Ratas.
Tanel Kiik and Jüri Ratas. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Center's previous chairman Jüri Ratas and his recent favorite to replace him Tanel Kiik said that dozens of Center members have admitted they want to quit the party following the recent in-house elections win of Mihhail Kõlvart. Ratas and Kiik said they've urged members to reconsider.

Kiik told ERR that he has received dozens of calls or emails from people considering quitting the party.

Kõlvart's opposing candidate in Center's Sunday leader elections emphasized that he has urged everyone to reconsider. "It has been my message for people not to rush any such decision. Let cool heads prevail, keep working and give Mihhail Kõlvart a chance to head the party. It is not sensible to quit the party simply because it got a new chairman. We should give Mihhail and his team a chance to show he can and wants to keep the party together."

Former chairman Jüri Ratas echoed the same message, adding that the party's congress is its highest decision-making body the decisions of which need to be respected. "It is said that it's in bad taste to brandish fists once the fight is over. I believe the congress has spoken this time, and it is time for the party to move on from here," Ratas said.

Kiik said he expects Kõlvart to shape Center into a party the ambitions of which go beyond Tallinn and that can have a say on nationwide issues. "And we must clearly have the ambition of being among those who form the government," he remarked.

He said that while Center should not rule out working with any Riigikogu party, he would leave aside the Koos/Vmeste party which has voiced anti-Estonian positions and one of the key figures of which Aivo Peterson was recently charged with treason.

Ratas also let slip that he plans to run in the European Parliament elections next year. "Yes, I want to run. I believe my experience would make a valuable addition to Center's list of candidates. Whether the people of Estonia would put their trust in me at those elections I cannot say today," Ratas said.

The Center Party on Sunday elected Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart its new chairman. Kõlvart got 543 votes against opposing candidate Tanel Kiik's 489.


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Editor: Mait Ots, Marcus Turovski

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