Richness of Life party may get new leader, other founder member quits

Richness of Life party founder member Artur Talvik speaking at a recent party press conference. Mr Talvik will not lead the party at the 2019 elections.
Richness of Life party founder member Artur Talvik speaking at a recent party press conference. Mr Talvik will not lead the party at the 2019 elections. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Mihkel Kangur, associate professor at the School of Natural Sciences and Health at Tallinn University, has put himself forward as potential leader of the Richness of Life party.

Mr Kangur's announcement comes as founder of the Richness of Life party (previously translated into English as the ''Biodiversity Party'') Artur Talvik has ruled himself out of the position.

"I am prepared to assume responsibility until the end. Should I receive such a proposal, then yes," Mr Kangur told ERR.

Meanwhile another Richness of Life founder member, Anzori Barklaja, has quit the party, citing the realities of Estonia's political landscape.

"In the broader sense, it seems that some things are not my cup of tea. By that I mean the party's political activity,'' Mr Barklaja told ERR.

''There are certain things in the general political climate of Estonia, which do not edify a thinking person. This is not directly a problem with Richness of Life. Apparently, I do not fit in with or conform to general perceptions of the values of the Estonian political landscape," he continued.

Direct Democracy

For his part, Mr Talvik suggested the party's emphasis on direct democracy was the main issue for Mr Barklaja.

"We decided to make the statutes of the party much more directly democratic. This could definitely have been one reason. He preferred a kind of fairly complex multi-stage combination of councils, working groups plus a board," Mr Talvik said. "It is possible that he is not a big fan of direct democracy after all. The version he offered involved representative democracy in a relatively complex format," he said, adding that Mr Barklaja apparently lacked sufficient time to focus on the party.

Nonetheless, relations between the party and Mr Barklaja, who is far from being a stranger to politics having been a founder member of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), and before that the Free Party (which Mr Talvik used to lead) and previously a member of the Res Publica, the forunner of Isamaa/Pro Patria, remain cordial, with the former continuing with the related NGO, Parem Ilm, which he heads.

Richness of Life are holding a party congress on 13 January when the party leader, prime ministerial candidate and district lists will be unveiled, Artur Talvik told ERR. Mr Talvik himself will most likely run in the Harju and Rapla counties district, he says.

The general election is on 3 March.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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