Reform vice-chairman and former minister Maris Lauri said criticism of Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) by MEP Andrus Ansip (Reform) reflects the mood of many members of the party. She said the party has had difficulties explaining its ideas and decisions.
On Thursday, Ansip said the party must replace Kallas as leader. He also believes the government's lack of support is a security risk.
ERR asked Lauri if Ansip constantly criticizing Kallas is too much for the party.
"I think not. It reflects the feelings and sentiments of quite a lot of party members and party supporters. So, in that sense, it's a signal. You have to listen to the words of a politician of such long-standing. How to take that message forward,
is a matter for further debate," Lauri, a minister in Kallas' former government, said.
"It would certainly be more pleasant if this conversation were internal.. I guess he feels he has to do it in the open," she added.
"There are many people in our party who ask very different questions, have different ideas, and want to find out how to move forward, why things are going one way or another. There is also criticism of different issues. There are a great many of these ideas, and they are very different. This information comes from different areas and different fields. We have open communication, there is no ban on criticism," said Lauri.
At the same time, Lauri did not want to say if Ansip's criticism of Kallas was justified.
"I don't have to have these discussions in public," she told ERR.
Ansip's criticism is not part of EU election campaign
Lauri said she does not believe Ansip is speaking publically as part of his campaign for the EU elections in 2024.
"I find it hard to believe that he needs this kind of attention to put forward his candidacy. He is a long-serving party leader, a long-serving prime minister, and he has also served as a European Commissioner and in the European Parliament. He is a well-known enough person in Estonia. It is only right that he should appear and say things in a way that perhaps not everybody likes. Maybe sometimes he's a bit too sharp, sometimes he adds more color, but that's Andrus Ansip," the MP said.
The party will have a strategy day at the start of January. Lauri said all topics that need to be discussed will still be raised.
"When the board meets, the board always discusses all topical and important issues. We have never restricted ourselves by saying, no, today we are not going to talk about this topic, we will talk about it at another time. If the topic is important, we will talk about it, if there is a desire to talk about it" said Lauri.
The vice-chairman said it is necessary to review some of the party's activities in the new year.
"For me, politics is made up of three essential components. The first is the ideas, the second is how you explain your ideas to others, how you present them, and the third is how you implement them. I think that we have never had a problem with ideas; there have generally been a lot of good ones. But it really seems that in some places the work of explaining, of making people understand why this or that thing is being done and how it is being done, has been lacking. And then the implementation of these things has also been hampered. There is definitely room for improvement in this area" Lauri said.
Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Helen Wright