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Reform secretary general: Party just extended Kallas leadership mandate

Reform Party secretary general Timo Suslov.
Reform Party secretary general Timo Suslov. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

MEP Andrus Ansip (Reform/Renew) has the right to criticize the leadership of Estonia's Reform Party, but the party nonetheless only recently gave Prime Minister and party chair Kaja Kallas' leadership another two-year mandate, Reform secretary general Timo Suslov said Thursday.

In an interview with Vikerraadio on Thursday morning, former longtime prime minister and Reform leader Andrus Ansip said that the substance and manner of the party's policymaking need to be changed, and that Kallas must be replaced as party chair. He also said that the lack of support in the government is a security risk.

"Every member of the party, including Andrus Ansip, has the right to their opinion, we are a very democratic party," Suslov told ERR. "It's always good to talk these things out among ourselves, but Ansip does have the right to his opinion."

In an interview with Vikerraadio on Thursday morning, former longtime prime minister and Reform leader Andrus Ansip said that the substance and manner of the party's policymaking need to be changed, and that Kallas must be replaced as party chair. He also said that the lack of support in the government is a security risk.

"Every member of the party, including Andrus Ansip, has the right to their opinion, we are a very democratic party," Suslov told ERR. "It's always good to talk these things out among ourselves, but Ansip does have the right to his opinion."

The Reform secretary general said that he doesn't see any issues.

"Kaja Kallas has just been given a two-year mandate from the party's general congress to lead the party," he pointed out. "Things are clear within the board. If Andrus Ansip disagrees, then that's okay too."

Host Indrek Kiisler asked Suslov whether Ansip's actions are damaging the Reform Party's reputation.

"I don't think the board has brought this up in any way to date, and I don't think we're going to specifically discuss the details of any regular member or party member there," he responded.

"We're not exactly pleased by such public statements either, I suppose, but I also don't see a very big issue here either," he added.

On Thursday morning, Ansip also noted that the Reform Party board had also moved its strategy day up from the end of January to the beginning, stating that the board intends to start discussing at the start of the new year already how to change the substance of the party's policy and manner of policymaking.

Suslov, however, said that the plan is actually in fact to talk public finances during this strategy day.

"We have several strategy days," he explained. "Thus it's also been decided by the board that the board will participate in the shaping of political policy – which is in fact the role of the board. I believe that party members and certainly also the board are worried about the state's finances, which we can certainly also discuss during the party board's strategy day."

He said that the matter of the upcoming European Parliament elections – to be held in June 2024 – won't yet be discussed at this strategy day either.

"The European Parliament elections are indeed right around the corner, but it's still too early to deal with that," said the Reform secretary general, adding that the party board doesn't explicitly have to attend to that right now.

"Rather, it's the fact that the Reform Party as party in charge of the government has had to make very important but very unpopular decisions in a very short timeframe," Suslov pointed out. "And our rating is the way it is as a result of that. Rather, we have to worry about how to get the economy up and running. That is also the Reform Party board's major concern and question at the beginning of January."

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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