TALLINN – A congress of the Estonian coalition Center Party will be held in the city of Parnu on Saturday where, for the first time after a long time, the current party leader Juri Ratas will be the only party member to run for the position of chairman, the public broadcaster ERR reports.
Ratas was elected chairman of the Center Party at the party's last congress in 2016 with MEP Yana Toom running against him for the position. Ratas collected altogether 654 votes and Toom 348 votes at the election. Edgar Savisaar had initially also promised to run, but abandoned his candidacy at the last moment. Prior to that, Savisaar held the position of party chair since the formation of the Center Party, that is since 1991.
In 2015, the other candidate running for the position of party leader alongside Savisaar was Kadri Simson, who received 486 votes, while altogether 541 Center Party members cast their vote in favor of Savisaar. In 2013, Savisaar was the only one to run for party chair.
Ratas ran against Savisaar in 2011, when Savisaar was elected party leader. Ratas collected 643 votes and Savisaar 925 votes then. Before that, other party members have ran against Savisaar but none have managed to present as strong of an opposition as Ratas' candidacy.
The congress to take place on Saturday will elect a party chairman as well as a party board. A new program of the party will also be adopted.
There are altogether 35 people running for a position on the board of the Center Party: Enn Eesmaa, Mihkel Undrest, Jaanus Karilaid, Kadri Simson, Mailis Reps, Aadu Must, Anneli Ott, Kersti Sarapuu, Mihhail Kolvart, Yana Toom, Tiit Terik, Vadim Belobrovtsev, Tanel Kiik, Taavi Aas, Toomas Vitsut, Siret Kotka-Repinski, Janek Maggi, Kalev Kallo, Jaak Aab, Aivar Riisalu, Erki Savisaar, Raimond Kaljulaid, Mart Sults, Eha Vork, Maria Jufereva, Peeter Laasik, Marina Riisalu, Tiia-Liis Jurgenson, Gert Uprus-Sonajalg, Vsevolod Jurgenson, Eduard Toman, Riho Roomus, Vladimir Arhipov, Dmitri Dmitrijev and Marek Kullamagi. Altogether 32 people submitted their candidacies for the party board at the last congress.
According to the statutes of the party, 14 people elected at the congress will be given a seat on the board.
Those running for the position of chairmen of the court of honor include Kalle Klandorf, Vladimir Sokman and Valeri Loonik. Audit committee member candidates include Kalle Joks, Enn-Toivo Annuk, Jelena Korsunova, Lauri Laats, Andres Kollist, Tiiu Sabel, Meelis Kurgpold, Riho Roomus, Olev Raju, Elena Sapp, Ester Tuiksoo, Aivo Toomistu, Kulli Land, Madis Kaasik, Sulev Roos, Helmut Koidla, Igor Abarenkov, Ulo Kotkas and Svetlana Kuzmina.