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Reactions to Mihkelson, Tsahkna leaving IRL: Storms ahead

Hanno Pevkur.
Hanno Pevkur. Source: (ERR)

MPs Marko Mihkelson and Margus Tsahkna have decided to leave the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL). Here are the reactions: Party chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder, chairman of the Reform Party Hanno Pevkur, EKRE's Jaak Madison.

Seeder said that Mihkelson and Tsahkna were free to decide, and that they were in politics voluntarily. If they didn’t believe that they could get the most out of this party, it was “right and honest” both in the sense of the party as well as themselves to leave.

“I think that this has been a longer process. They’ve been relatively passive members for a while,” Seeder said. Tsahkna recently handed over to Seeder as chairman, and was minister of defense in the government of Jüri Ratas (Center). Mihkelson most recently has been the chairman of the Riigikogu’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

Tsahkna’s decisions as chairman hadn’t taken the party where he and other members would have liked to see it, Seeder added. They had also failed to meet the expectations of the broader public. Entering this coalition with the Center Party and the Social Democrats hadn’t brought the kind of turnaround the party had been hoping for.

IRL has been lagging behind the other major parties for a long time, earlier this year even dropping below the 5-percent election threshold.

Pevkur: Culmination in IRL’s internal conflict had to come sooner or later

“The choices and decisions they made as leaders of the party didn’t produce [the results they were hoping for], and apparently they’re disappointed as well, most of all probably of their own choices,” Pevkur said, adding that Tsahkna had been party chairman and Mihkelson his deputy when IRL decided to join the coalition that replaced Reform in government.

Mihkelson and Tsahkna had taken a “manly step”, Pevkur said. They were the first out of the ranks of IRL who no longer agreed to just stand by and watch. “IRL’s internal value conflict had to culminate sooner or later, because no serious member of IRL can agree with what we’re shown as the new normal by the Center Party’s government,” he commented on social media.

All forecasts showed “storms ahead” in politics this summer, Pevkur added, with Tsahkna and Mihkelson’s announcement only being the beginning. The Center Party was showing signs of unrest as well.

MP for the Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE), Jaak Madison, commented that IRL was “finally in its grave”, and Mihkelson and Tsahkna’s leaving “like a nail in the coffin”.

Mihkelson: IRL has become softer version of EKRE

Mihkelson said a reason for leaving was IRL’s lack of vision, and that the party had turned into little more than a slightly softer version of EKRE.

IRL chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder rejected this statement, saying that IRL was a “completely independent party”, and that there were “important differences” in certain areas. “At the same time, naturally we have things in common with EKRE,” he added, saying that IRL would cooperate with EKRE in the future.

Tsahkna and Mihkelson announced on Monday that they decided to leave IRL.

You can find more on the current changes in IRL in the linked articles below the comment block.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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