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Toom explains decision to stay with Center for local polls

Toom appearing with members of Center's leadership after her announcement that she would run with the party, July 7, 2017.
Toom appearing with members of Center's leadership after her announcement that she would run with the party, July 7, 2017. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

After threatening to run on an independent list in the upcoming local polls, Yana Toom had the Center Party’s leadership negotiate the party platform to keep her on. She eventually decided to run on a party list after all—letting down MPs Olga Ivanova and Oudekki Loone, who had backed her.

Toom’s announcement on Friday that she will run on the party list does not mean that Ivanova and Loone will do the same. Discussions between the three politicians continued on social media following Toom’s explanation why she decided not to go for an independent list.

Toom says without her Center would plummet to single-digit ratings

One of Toom’s reasons to stay on was that she likely would have taken part of the Center Party’s Russian-speaking voter base with her. This in turn would have weakened the only one of the large Estonian parties that represented the interests of those voters, Toom reasoned.

In fact, Toom rates her importance highly enough to say that this step would have reduced the party to a role comparable to that of the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL), who were at 6.6 percent support in the June party ratings.

Toom also stated that if an independent election coalition like the one threatened by her and Ivanova would have come to pass, it would have meant a government crisis in autumn this year at the latest, which again would have led to early parliamentary elections. And the road would have ended for their independent list, as only parties could run for parliamentary mandates.

Shelters, school books, summer camps

The debate on social media also brought out what was negotiated last week. Issues range from shelters for victims of domestic abuse to splitting up school books so that kids would have to carry less to municipal kids’ summer camps on the island of Aegna, which is part of the territory of the capital.

Ivanova reacted by saying that there was no point looking for excuses. She pointed out that all meetings in preparation for an alternative list for the local elections took place with Toom being present, but that there wasn’t so much as a protocol of what they had planned. Several issues had been left out of the eventual agreement with the Center Party leadership.

Loone expressed disappointment about the fact that Toom changed her mind after all three of them together had decided to go ahead with the independent election coalition.

After days of negotiations with the Center Party’s leadership, MEP Yana Toom (Center/ALDE) announced that she would run on a Center Party list in the upcoming local elections in October this year.

Toom, along with MPs Olga Ivanova and Oudekki Loone, had announced earlier that she was considering an independent election coalition instead. The negotiations revolved around issues the three want to see added to the party’s platform.

One of the points discussed was the matter of former long-time party chairman and suspended mayor of Tallinn, Edgar Savisaar. Savisaar received record vote numbers to his name in Tallinn’s Lasnamäe borough, a reason why Toom and Ivanova wanted to see him on that list, possibly even as its front runner.

Meanwhile Savisaar is facing charges in a trial that may well continue for years. He is accused of graft, embezzlement of public money, large-scale money laundering, and having accepted illegal political donations.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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