Margus Tsahkna, chairman of the coalition Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) and current Minister of Defence, announced that he would not be running again for the party's top position at its general meeting on May 13.
Tsahkna told reporters on Saturday that he would not seek reelection as most of his proposals for changes to the party statutes were not supported by IRL's extended leadership and none of the approved changes would take effect prior to the next general meeting.
According to Tsahkna, the decisions made by the extended leadership on Saturday were more or less as expected. "My proposal that the party should be more open and adopt statute changes before the regular [leadership] elections to do away with vote manipulation so that we'd become a modern, open party, unfortunately found no support," he said following the extended leadership meeting. "But that was the leadership's decision. It must be respected and the party will move forward."
Tsahkna said he would not step down from the position of chairman before the convention. He declined, however, to indicate whom he'd see as his successor.
Mihkelson not to run for party leadership either
IRL deputy chairman Marko Mihkelson likewise announced that he would no longer be running for a position in the party's leadership.
"IRL's council made decisions today which gave the public an unambiguous signal — the party does not want to change," Mihkelson wrote on social media. "As a result, on May 13, IRL will be elected an obedient meeting chair, not a leader with discretion and a vision. Due to the suppression by force of innovative thinking (meaningful debate was lacking today), I do not consider it possible to run for IRL's governing bodies."
IRL's extended leadership decided on Saturday that the general meeting at which the party's leadership would be elected will be held on May 13 in Tallinn. To be elected at the convention are the party's chairman, deputy chairmen, leadership, audit committee and court of honor, extended leadership chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder said.
Extended leadership proposes amending party statutes
IRL's extended leadership decided at Saturday's meeting to submit proposals for changing the party's statutes to its May 13 general meeting for approval.
According to Seeder, the board reached the conclusion that the party needed changes and the plan was to update the statutes as a first step, party spokespeople said. "All members of the party can attend the general meeting and vote either for or against the proposals," he said.
While previously three deputy chairmen were elected at a general meeting and candidates could not simultaneously run for a seat in the party's leadership, according to the extended leadership's proposal, the chairman of the party would henceforth choose his deputies from among party leadership members. The extended leadership likewise supported a proposal to reduce the number of leadership members from 24 to 21.
IRL's extended leadership further decided to change the rules for accepting new members to the party. From now on, prospective members will be required to have a regional board member's personal recommedation or to have met with the regional board prior to being accepted.
A proposal was also endorsed that will allow a minimum of 100 members of the party to demand an advisory internal vote when faced with important societal choices in betwen general meetings.
IRL, a junior coalition partner, currently has more than 9,200 members.
Editor: Aili Vahtla
Source: BNS, ERR