Reform Party Secretary General Tonis Kõiv sent a letter to members of its Lääne County division warning that members running in election coalitions in local elections this fall will be thrown out of the party.
This means that Haapsalu mayor Urmas Sukles, who announced this spring that he would be running his own election coalition in the local elections this fall, will be thrown out of the party, wrote local paper Lääne Elu (link in Estonian).
Kõiv's letter was in response to a question from Reform's Lääne County development manager Jaanus Ratas inquiring how to move forward after a number of Reform members have announced their decisions to run in election coalitions, wrote the paper.
"If the Reform Party is participating with its own list in Lääne-Nigula Municipality or the city of Haapsalu, then not one party mate can run anywhere else," Kõiv responded. "If they do, they will either leave [the party] themselves or we will throw them out. According to the party statutes, the party leadership will make the call on the proposal of the regional organization or the court of honor. Not one expulsion has been impeded by the leadership."
Ratas forwarded Kõiv's letter to members of the local division.
"If Urmas Sukles does not change his position, it is very likely," Ratas responded when asked whether the mayor of Haapsalu would be thrown out of the party. "This message was meant for all of Lääne County as well as all of Estonia. Some food for thought."
Sukles, on his part, admitted that he hadn't considered such a scenario when establishing his election coalition.
According to party statutes, there are two possibilities: either a local division or the party's court of honor will submit an expulsion proposal to party leadership. Sukles himself is a member of the leadership of the party's Haapsalu division. "I hope that the division leadership won't take this step," he said.
Editor: Aili Vahtla