Indrek Tarand mulling return to Estonian politics, possibly with Free Party
Nine years ago Indrek Tarand became an MEP after polling over 100,000 votes as an independent candidate. Now he wishes to return to his roots and join an Estonian party in the run up to the 2019 Parliamentary (Riigikogu) elections. But which one? Everything will become clear in the Autumn, he tells ERR.
''I can't deny I have a hankering for a return home – soon I'll have been working in the European Parliament for ten years,'' he said.
Any political future Mr. Tarand has in Estonia is most closely identified with the Free Party, whose former chairman Artur Talvik, a childhood friend of Tarand, also ran in the general elections as Free Party leader, and thus as a potential Prime Minister. This link is strengthened by Tarand's warm relations with a party he sees as the only challenger to the Centre Party (Keserakond) – Reform Party (Reformierakond) axis.
Tarand clarified his feelings further in his conversation with ERR, saying that ''the Free Party would be the logical choice for me; the only reason I haven't made the move yet is because ties are not firmed up yet. The time to make the decision will be early autumn, when things should be a lot clearer to me,'' he said.
Mr. Tarand also related how he met the new Free Party Leader Andres Herkel purely by accident a few weeks ago.
''We found that we had the chance to get together and talk about my future and any desire I might have to return to the fold,'' he went on.
Indrek Tarand also acknowledged that if he wanted to continue in the European Parliament then he would most likely have to participate in its activities before the general election in Estonia next year.
There are two rounds of elections to the European Parliament next year which fall so close together that they can be likened to a two-heat competition, and both hurdles have to be crossed, if you want to make it, he explained.
Continuing as an MEP would be of interest to Mr. Tarand only if European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker's plan that EU commissioners be chosen from the deputies of the European Parliament, rather than being designated by the EU member states [Juncker had faced controversy earlier in the year following the promotion by him of Martin Selmayr to Secretary-General of the EU Commission – ed.] comes to fruition.
''If this were to happen then I have a concrete interest in being there competing in the front line regardless of what Government is here in Estonia,'' Mr. Tarand went on.
Indrek Tarand was elected as an MEP with 103,506 votes standing as an independent. He joined the Greens/European Free Alliance European bloc. In 2011 he stood as an independent again against Toomas-Hendrik Ilves in the Estonia Presidential elections, receiving 25 votes to Ilves' 73. Mr. Tarand's Presidential votes all came from Centre Party MPs (the process of choosing an Estonian President begins with voting by the parliamentary parties and not the populace as a whole).
Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: ERR Uudised