The Reform Party Board of Directors has expelled eight party members in its Haapsalu chapter from its ranks, including Haapsalu mayor Urmas Sukles, for running in a competing election coalition in this fall's local elections.
At a meeting on Tuesday evening, the party's board of directors accepted the proposal of its Haapsalu chapter to expel eight members thereof from the party for breaching their statutory obligations of membership, a party spokesperson said.
In the case of the expelled members, the breaching of statutory obligations of membership was related to their running in the Oct. 15 local elections in an election coalition competing against the Reform Party. The party board supported the position of its Haapsalu chapter that these individuals placed themselves outside of the Reform Party by choosing to run against the party, according to a party representative.
In light of the proposal by the party's Haapsalu chapter, the Reform Party's Board of Directors decided to expel Andres Laidre, Elerin Lees, Kalju Aigro, Mati Seppi, Riho Lepp, Terje Parra, Tõnu Parbus and Urmas Sukles.
Sukles: Reform's decision logical
Commenting on his expulsion from the party, Sukles told Vikerraadio's radio news on Wednesday that it was a logical decision for the Reform Party, just as it had been logical for him to form his own election coalition.
"My way of thinking has actually diverged somewhat from the Reform Party's top brass for some time already," Sukles said. "This is why I formed my own election coalition."
The Haapsalu mayor also noted that he hadn't agreed with a lot of what was going on within the Reform Party in Tallinn, such as very Tallinn-centric disregarding of the wishes of local governments, a lack of regional policy, and various scandals which also affected leading Reform Party members in Haapsalu.
Sukles said that while Hanno Pevkur won the most recent party board member elections, the party's leadership nonetheless remained more or less on the same course as before, which is why he felt it was logical to form his own election coalition.
Reform Party chairman Hanno Pevkur said on the ERR news portal broadcast "Live from the News Building" on Wednesday that expelling members from the party is always the decision of its local chapters, and that the party's board does not get involved.
The Reform Party was not making an example of these members, Pevkur said, adding that Sukles' expulsion from the party was already under consideration after the Haapsalu mayor had established his own election coalition.
Sukles, who joined the Reform Party in 1999, had served as mayor of Haapsalu from 1993-2002 and has served as mayor again since 2009.
Editor: Aili Vahtla