In an interview with ERR, independent MP Margus Tsahkna confirmed that he will be joining the nonprofit Estonia 200, which is working toward establishing itself as a new political party.
According to Tsahkna, it's no secret that he has already attended Estonia 200 discussions during the past year.
"I have to admit that I have never before seen this level of substance, where experts of their own fields and people concerned about the Estonian state have come together," Tsahkna said in an interview with ERR on Tuesday. "This has left quite the impression on me. And I can contribute there."
Tsahkna supports Estonia 200 becoming a political party, adding that those involved must make that decision together.
"But it is clear that people aren't getting together to discuss things just because," he continued. "There is serious subject matter and the challenge of what the Estonian state might be like in the 21st century."
Not interested in taking the lead
The MP expressed hope that Estonia 200 will decide to enter politics and bring their ideas to life. "If you look at the reactions of other parties, I don't see the possibility of anyone else taking these bold steps, such as with state reform," he said.
Tsahka admitted that there is currently not a single political party in Estonia that he would vote for in the Riigikogu election next March. "And there are many people in the same position," he noted. "I hope that Estonia 200 ends up a serious political movement. And I mean a force that will participate in the elections." Only political parties may run in Riigikogu elections.
He stressed, however, that he will not be taking a lead position within Estonia 200. "I am not going in there with my own agenda," he added.
Tsahkna is the former chairman of the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL, since renamed the Pro Patria Party/Isamaa), who decided to quit the party together with Marko Mihkelson.
Mihkelson told ERR that he will announce his decision when the time is right. When exactly that is, however, he declined to say.
Seeder, Herkel unsurprised by announcement
Pro Patria chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder told ERR that Tsahkna's decision wasn't surprising. "Those who keep up with politics are aware that Tsahkna himself has been behind the establishment of Estonia 200," he said. "I suppose now they have to complete the formalities and form a political party. You need people for that, but surely they have considered this."
A minimum of 500 members are needed to establish a new political party, down from a previous requirement of 1,000.
According to Seeder, it is difficult to judge for whom Estonia 200 may become the biggest competitor. "It seems as though they want to remain a secretive new force and play on the novelty aspect," he said. "Based on their messages thus far, it's difficult to say whether they are a left- or right-wing force, liberals or conservatives. It's currently impossible to say what their worldview-based platform may end up being, but I suppose we'll find out before the elections."
Free Party chairman Andres Herkel was likewise unsurprised by Tsahkna's decision.
"It had been transparent for some time that his activities were coordinated with this movement, and their movement torward becoming a political party is very likely," Herkel told ERR.
Editor: Aili Vahtla