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Laar to IRL members: No need for public confrontation

IRL's honorary chairman, Mart Laar. Apr. 2017
IRL's honorary chairman, Mart Laar. Apr. 2017 Source: (ERR)

Former prime minister and honorary chairman of IRL, Mart Laar, sent a letter to his party’s members on Thursday in which he asked them to resolve their differences less emotionally. Laar also expressed his support of current chairman Margus Tsahkna.

In the letter, Laar mentioned that he had been approached by enough party members to think that he couldn’t keep out of the matter any longer.

The Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) had gone from 22 mandates in the Riigikogu to just 14, and had had consistently low ratings. There was no way out of this downward spiral without serious reflection on the last election’s result, and why the party had lost the trust of so many voters, Laar wrote.

IRL needed to find out what the reasons were, and get rid of the things that caused it, Laar added, pointing out that he wasn’t thinking about people, but rather about the attitudes that turned politics into a technical matter.

Political technology may keep someone where they wanted to be, but it didn’t help running the country, Laar wrote. Making decisions based on the support and the number of votes the party could hope for wasn’t enough. The party’s politics could at times be unpopular, and IRL had done unpopular things and achieved a lot nonetheless.

Instead of open conflict, IRL needed to find out why it was needed at all in Estonian politics. If it did that, there was hope that others would understand as well. Though Laar said he agreed showing that conservatism didn’t necessarily have to mean isolation, hatred, and wanting to see heads roll made sense, apparently that wasn’t enough.

“The last time I understood why IRL exists was when support for [families with] a third child was implemented,” Laar wrote.

Though pointing to past achievements wasn’t worth the effort either, Laar added, as a single step would hardly solve Estonia’s demographic problem, and the party hadn’t achieved this alone either. IRL had changed partners, but this didn’t mean having to “sing Hallelujah to every madness”, no matter whether this included “taxing everything that moves or flows” or finance a state housing program.

The party needed to remember that the government rested on its 14 votes in the Riigikogu, Laar wrote. Scattering them could mean failure of the coalition. In this position, IRL guaranteed the government’s resistance, along with several other things. They had successfully resisted several “mad” proposals, including the Reform Party’s attempt to abolish compulsory military service.

This was the role the party needed to play right now, Laar said. If on top of that, it managed to look into the future as well, then that would be rather nice, he added.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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