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MP Enn Eesmaa prefers independent status to new party after exiting Center

Center Party extraordinary congress in Paide. September 10, 2023
Center Party extraordinary congress in Paide. September 10, 2023 Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Riigikogu MP Enn Eesmaa, who recently left the Center Party, said he has decided not to join any other political party for the time being. According to Eesmaa, he is now enjoying the opportunity to operate independently of the party hierarchy.

"In this sense, I have [decided] that I will not join any political party at the moment. I am enjoying this opportunity to work according to the mandate that should be obligatory for all members of the Riigikogu – to vote according to one's own decision and conscience, not according to party guidelines," Eesmaa told ERR in response to a question on his political future.

"There are moments –  not every day, but sometimes –  when you actually want to vote differently from the party you represent, and that is a very pleasant feeling," Eesmaa added. "So, I can start off from the principle, which is also prescribed by the Status of Members of the Riigikogu Act –  regardless of the fact that you belong to a political party, at the moment of voting you have to follow your own decision and your conscience," he stressed.

Eesmaa said he does not need party guidelines in order to reach the right decision. "And I believe that there are very few people in the world, or in Estonia either, who, in situations where they need to find a solution, turn first and foremost to the programs of political parties. I think they are necessary, but for the moment, yes, I can manage quite well without them."

Eesmaa also refrained from saying whether he was more inclined to support the coalition or the opposition.

"Here, of course, there can only be one answer: it all depends on the situation. Often my opinion is more or less the same as that of the coalition, and very often the same as that of the opposition. It all depends on the actual problems and real situations, and in today's world, including in Estonia, there are still times when the opposition y says 'no' basically just because the coalition says 'yes,'" he said.

Eesmaa explained that in his current position, he is able to vote in whichever way appears most reasonable to him, abstain if he is not sure and oppose if he thinks what has been put forward is not right. He recalled that this has happened in the past when, as a member of the Center Party's Riigikogu group, in contrast to the party's position, Eesmaa opted to abstain from voting against the transition to Estonian-language education.

"Such occasions are a good example of how your personal opinion can sometimes be very different from the opinion of your party and group. So these situations will no longer arise given my new status," said Eesmaa.

Eesmaa reiterated that, as he told ERR in early January, he has been approached by all the Riigikogu parties except one. However, this has still not convinced him to join any of them.

The start of January saw an exodus from the Center Party's Riigikogu group. Key figures Tanel Kiik, Jaak Aab, Andre Hanimägi, Ester Karuse, Enn Eesmaa and Kersti Sarapuu all announced their departures from the party. Kiik, Aab, Hanimägi and Karuse joined the Social Democratic Party (SDE), while Eesmaa and Sarapuu remained independent.

On Monday, former Estonian Prime Minister and until recently, Center Party leader Jüri Ratas announced that he would be making the switch to Isamaa.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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