Yana Toom: I was campaigned against in Narva

MEP Yana Toom (Centre).
MEP Yana Toom (Centre). Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Centre Party board member and MEP Yana Toom, who scooped up 6,197 votes in the 2019 Riigikogu elections, claimed that she was the target of a fierce campaign against her. In the previous Riigikogu elections, in comparison, Ms Toom had earned 11,574 votes.

"I am very grateful to everyone who supported me despite the fact that I was campaigned against," Ms Toom told ERR on Monday. "A paper is distributed in Narva that every week included some kind of call to boycott the elections and so on. This was pretty massive. I can't be very pleased with the results, as support decreased compared to last time."

She did not agree with claims, however, that the Centre Party suffered a painful loss. "If you ask what was behind the Reform Party's success, that I do not understand," she added.

ERR asked Ms Toom whether she believed that Russian-language voters stayed home this time. If they had, she replied, she wouldn't have earned over 6,000 votes in Ida-Viru County.

"Yes, turnout was lower than last time, but Ida-Viru County historically has the lowest turnout in Estonia in general," she explained. "Of course I feel a certain disappointment in Russian voters, no need to deny that."

Speaking about her future plans, Ms Toom confirmed that she would definitely be running for re-election to the European Parliament later this spring.

"I will move forward based on the fact that a politician seeks the most effectual instrument they have, and without a doubt an MEP mandate is much more effectual than the seat of an opposition MP in the Riigikogu," she said.

Does she believe, then, that the Centre Party will not be part of the next government?

"[Party chairman] Jüri Ratas is a very good negotiator," Ms Toom replied. "If he promised that he will work to ensure that we are in the government, I guess that is what he'll do."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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