Offering former chairman Edgar Savisaar the first place on the Center Party’s general list for the local elections in Tallinn this October could be part of a compromise between the party leadership and party members that support him. Reform Party chairman Hanno Pevkur meanwhile thinks the prime minister has surrendered to blackmailers in his party.
Tõnis Saarts, political scientist at the University of Tallinn, said on Wednesday that the party making Savisaar its front runner in the capital could be a result of a compromise the party leadership arrived at with Yana Toom, Olga Ivanova, and Oudekki Loone, who earlier demanded that Savisaar be allowed to run on the party list in Tallinn’s Lasnamäe borough.
"Savisaar and his supporters have been given a clear signal that they have not been dropped by the party, and with that the party is hoping to eliminate the chance of Savisaar and the two remaining 'sisters', Oudekki Loone and Olga Ivanova, creating a separate election list after all," Saarts told BNS.
After lengthy internal negotiations in the party, Toom, Ivanova, and Loone had already decided to start a list of their own. Then Toom changed her mind and decided to run with the party anyway, seemingly to the disappointment of her two colleagues.
"It is possible that offering to make Savisaar the front runner was also part of a compromise, which was achieved between the 'three sisters' and the leadership of the Center Party last week," Saarts added.
"Savisaar definitely continues to be a considerable vote magnet for the party, and I doubt that having him as the front runner would cost the party many Estonian voters, as Savisaar definitely won’t be at the center of the campaign in Tallinn, but rather someone like Taavi Aas, Mihhail Kõlvart, Mailis Reps, and others.”
The secretary general of the Center Party, Mihhail Korb, said earlier on Wednesday that the party was offering Savisaar the first place on the party's general list for the local elections in Tallinn. There has not yet been a response.
Reform Party chairman: Ratas surrendered to Toom
Chairman of the opposition Reform Party, Hanno Pevkur, said that offering Savisaar to be front runner meant that current party chairman and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) had surrendered.
"Offering Savisaar the first place on the Center Party's list first and foremost shows Jüri Ratas' weakness and surrender to the blackmailers,” Pevkur said on social media on Wednesday.
"Are there any people in Estonia who genuinely believe that Savisaar is the best candidate of the Center Party today? How can the party's front runner be a man who is on trial facing serious accusations of corruption? This is spitting in the face of the public's sense of justice and proof that nothing has changed in the Center Party," Pevkur said.
"This is probably the first glimpse at the secret protocols of the pact between Ratas and Toom, and there is more to come,” he added.
Editor: Dario Cavegn