Helir-Valdor Seeder, chairman of the extended leadership of the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL), said on Tuesday that at least some of Margus Tsahkna’s proposals to change the party’s internal election procedure and leadership may be well received.
Party chairman and Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna (IRL) intends to ask IRL’s extended leadership to call an emergency general meeting before the end of the month. Tsahkna would like the party’s statutes reviewed, and internal elections changed to the effect that each full member would have one vote in chairman and leadership elections.
The party’s current internal order, with 24 leadership members as well as voting by sections, allowed for manipulation of elections and votes, Tsahkna said. The party thus was in need of more internal democracy, and of more transparency.
Those on the party’s leadership that disagree with Tsahkna are led by Siim Kiisler. Kiisler’s camp in the IRL leadership voted down Tsahkna’s proposals on Monday, instead announcing that it would ask the party’s extended leadership in its meeting this Saturday to call for a general meeting of the party in which new leaders would be elected, but the statutes not changed just yet.
Tsahkna sees this as an attempt to uphold the status quo, and has announced that he won’t be a candidate for IRL’s chairmanship anymore, saying that if there was no change to the election procedure, who would eventually be elected chairman didn’t matter.
Seeder: We’ll discuss all of the proposals
“All proposals are worth being discussed, and not a single one of them is a black-and-white proposal that would either make the party more open or more closed off,” Seeder told ERR’s web news on Tuesday.
For instance, Seeder supports the proposal to have the party’s deputy chairpersons elected by the leadership instead of the general meeting. Without the three deputies elected in addition to the party’s full leadership, the number of members in its highest body could be reduced from 24 to 21.
Tsahkna would like to see the leadership shrink to just 15 members, which is too extreme for Seeder. “This kind of meeting format isn’t a very good idea. Practice shows that even the format with 24 members is used only very rarely. Most of the meetings are typically broader, with ministers, members of the parliamentary group, leadership members attending,” Seeder said, adding that he didn’t believe that these meetings affected the political culture inside the party.
The option to vote electronically, as demanded by Tsahkna, was already part of IRL’s statutes, Seeder pointed out. He would support using this option as well.
Changing the internal election procedure, though, was a different matter. Currently every member who was the right to vote has not one, but four votes. “Having several votes is a good solution. If we switch to one vote, then the next leadership will likely be concentrated on Tallinn and Tartu. Concentrated on those sections that have a lot of members. The representation of other sections could shrink,” Seeder said.
The way Tsahkna sees it, the current system has in the past been used for deal-making and forming internal blocs. This Seeder disagrees with. “To see cooperation within the party as negative deal-making, I don’t think that’s right,” Seeder said.
The extended leadership of the party, set to meet on Saturday, Apr. 8, will decide whether to follow Tsahkna and call two general meetings, of which one to revise IRL’s statutes, and the other to elect a new leadership and chairman; or to follow Kiisler’s camp and call for the election of a new leadership and chairman before making changes to the statutes.
Editor: Dario Cavegn