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Opinion digest: IRL’s future ‘fairly bleak’

Ott Lumi
Ott Lumi Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

PR advisor and former IRL politician Ott Lumi commented on Monday that Margus Tsahkna and Marko Mihkelson’s leaving the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) meant the party’s future wasn’t looking good.

Lumi, who is a former secretary general of IRL predecessor Res Publica as well as a former member of the Riigikogu for the party, pointed out that the trend of important figures leaving the party had lasted for a while now.

As Lumi told ERR’s radio news, the problem was that Tsahkna and Mihkelson weren’t the first ones to leave. “In recent time Aaviksoo went, and Pakosta as well. This shows that the future of the party is looking fairly bleak,” Lumi said.

Former minister of defense and minister of education and research, Jaak Aaviksoo, left the party in June 2015 after he was elected rector of the Tallinn University of Technology. Liisa Pakosta left the party the same year after she was appointed the Estonian state’s gender equality and equal treatment commissioner.

Another prominent member, former President of the Riigikogu and long-time deputy party chairwoman Ene Ergma, left IRL in 2016, expressing disappointment with the course the party had taken.

Lumi said that though Helir-Valdor Seeder, who recently replaced Tsahkna as chairman, had some chance of giving the party a direction, the loss of Mihkelson, who had been the party’s most progressive and positive politician, was a serious blow to the party.

“IRL’s lasting basic problem has been ideological confusion. Even more so as EKRE (the Estonian Conservative People’s Party; ed.) and the Free Party offer an alternative. More and more there’s the question what IRL’s own original idea is,” Lumi added.

If the party should break up, its politicians were unlikely to disappear, Lumi said. He doesn’t believe that the party is likely to be absorbed by another in its entirety, but rather that after a break-up its members would join Reform, and the Free Party.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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