Steve Roman, ERR News
Centre Party Chairman Edgar Savisaar has reacted to today's news that eight prominent figures had quit his party's ranks by calling their exodus a "relief."
In an interview with ERR, Savisaar said that the party members in question had been trying to change the party's political orientation and had ended up in the minority.
"For most Centre Party members, I think, the exit from the party of these politicians, whose main job lately has been criticism of the party, is a relief. These developments have been difficult for me personally because among those who quit the party are people who were very close to me at one time and from whom I expected a different relationship," he said.
Those who left included MEPs Siiri Oviir and Vilja Savisaar-Toomast, MPs Inara Luigas, Lembit Kaljuvee, Deniss Boroditsh and Rainer Vakra, Tallinn City Council member Ain Seppik and party board member Toomas Varek. In a joint statement explaining their decision to leave, they cited frustrated attempts to bring openness and transparency into party leadership.
Savisaar put a brave face on the fact that his party had lost four seats in Parliament. "Today the popularity rating of the opposition is higher than that of the government, which says that things aren't going badly," he said.
"The Centre Party wants the radical economic and social policy that's predominant in Estonia to have a human face. For that we need to change the government, not bicker with one another within the opposition to the delight of the government," Savisaar said.
Savisaar: Party Shakeup Was a 'Relief'