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Replacement Center Party members nominated for Bank of Estonia, ERR supervisory boards

The Center Party's Vadim Belobrovtsev (left) jand Lauri Laats, taking part in a protest in support of the nationwide teachers' strike, earlier this week.
The Center Party's Vadim Belobrovtsev (left) jand Lauri Laats, taking part in a protest in support of the nationwide teachers' strike, earlier this week. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Center Party's Riigikogu faction has nominated its new candidates to the supervisory boards at Bank of Estonia (Eesti Pank) and public broadcaster ERR.

Like many public and state bodies, ERR and the Bank of Estonia both have supervisory boards providing oversight and which include political appointees from each of the parties represented at the Riigikogu, as well as independents.

The new appointments were required following the recent exodus of four former Center MPs to the Social Democratic Party (SDE).

Andrei Korobeinik, acting Center Party chief whip, told ERR's Russian-language portal that: "Within the party group, we decided that Vadim Belobrovtsev will become our representative on ERR's supervisory board; Lauri Laats, the Bank of Estonia's."

The two will replace Andre Hanimägi and Ester Karuse, who were two of the MPs who defected to SDE.

The appointments require rubber stamping by the relevant Riigikogu committees, namely the culture committee in the case of ERR, and the finance committee in the case of the central bank, and a vote at a full plenary session at parliament.

Hanimägi had only been in the ERR supervisory board position since last November, replacing another, earlier Center Party departure, namely former minister Tõnis Mölder, who had joined Isamaa two months earlier.

Much the same had been the case with Karuse, who replaced the other MP who left Center for Isama, former Center chief whip Jaanus Karilaid. Karuse took up the Bank of Estonia supervisory board post in November 2023 also.

Mölder, Karilaid, Hanimägi and Karuse were all big hitters with Center, who also lost two former ministers, Tanel Kiik and Jaak Aab, who joined SDE earlier this month.

Additionally, two veteran MPs, Enn Eesmaa and Kersti Sarapuu, left Center to become independents.

This leaves the Center Party with a balance of seven MPs, making it the smallest party at the Riigikogu whereas just a year ago it was the second-largest, with over 20 seats (the party lost several mandates at the March 2023 general election).

The position of Jüri Ratas, former Center leader, is also hanging in the balance, though he remains a party member at present.

The wave of departures outlined above all followed September's election of Mihhail Kõlvart, Tallinn's mayor, as Center leader, and concerns over the party's management since then, as well as its relationship with Russia.

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Editor: Sergei Mihhailov, Mait Ots, Andrew Whyte

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