Center to retain cooperation agreement

The prime minister’s party has no plan to close its cooperation agreement with United Russia. Some members of the party brass still regard the document as an important symbol for the Russian voter and believe that ending the agreement would create a negative media background.

Chairman of the Center Party Jüri Ratas almost went for broke in front of Postimees’ camera yesterday in trying to avoid giving a straight answer to the question of why does the Center Party still need its cooperation protocol with United Russia after Latvia’s Harmony Center dropped it - writes postimees.ee.

“Because the protocol is dormant, no cooperation has been pursued,” Ratas maintained. The chairman saw no reason for Center to follow the example of Latvians. “We have no cooperation agreement with the Latvian party that would suggest the need to harmonize these kinds of messages. We are talking about two different parties in two countries.”

A source familiar with in-house affairs of the party’s board told Postimees that the situation regarding the protocol is confusing. “It has been discussed, while there are people who believe it (the protocol – ed.) infers some positive attitudes,” they said, hinting at the agreement’s potential for keeping Russian votes.

Another member of the party said the protocol is buried under a thick layer of dust, and that is exactly the way the party wants it. The idea is simple: while the existence of the cooperation protocol currently does not interest Russian voters, dropping it could polarize a certain part of Russian-speaking voters against Center.

Former member of the Center Party and its board Olga Ivanova confirmed as much. “It is very important for Center’s voters,” she said.

Ivanova basically echoed the opinion according to which the protocol is among untouchable topics in the party. “To some extent, yes. They are afraid that Russians will see through Center’s real policy,” the politician said regarding the potential consequences of closing the agreement.

However, there is also suspicion in the board that the agreement might not matter all that much to the Russian voter.

Journalist Pavel Ivanov agrees. “I believe this agreement does not sway the Russian voter. If they have a preference, it is not likely to change because of some cooperation protocol,” Ivanov said.

The journalist believes keeping the agreement frozen is senseless, and that the Latvians did the right thing by dropping it.

Deputy Chairman of the Center Party Jaanus Karilaid said that the party should not blindly follow the Latvians’ example, but added that the future of the protocol needs to be decided after the local elections.

The previous such attempt was made last year when the Center Party council discussed whether the new government could make it serve Estonia’s interests. The only relevant proposal was made by the Lääne County region under Karilaid.

Karilaid had ready proposals of how to carry the agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s party into effect. “If the Russian Federation wanted to restore relations, it could simply return the president’s chain of office without the need for negotiations. That could be an initial gesture,” he said.

The council found itself over the barrel, and the agreement was left frozen. “It remains on ice so to speak. Because our foreign policy has a very rigid common stance on Russia, we have lacked the will to breathe life into the agreement,” Karilaid said.

The politician now believes the matter should be discussed again after local elections. A decision to drop the agreement would need to be supported by the party’s regional organizations.

“Neither option is off the table – putting the agreement to work for Estonia’s national interests, nor ending the federal cooperation protocol. The impulse could come from the party’s 20 regional offices. Lääne County alone is not enough; however, if we had 10-15 regions that found the matter important…” Karilaid said.

Latvia’s left-wing Harmony Center and its chairman Nils Ušakovs announced yesterday that their cooperation agreement with United Russia is no longer in effect.

Read also more news of Tallinn on our site.

postimees.ee
CENTERPARTY RUSSIA
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
1 view in november
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Politics
More than half of all Estonian residents support as liberal an alcohol policy as possible or one with few restrictions (54% in all), while another third favour more stringent restrictions, according to the alcohol yearbook, titled "Market, consumption and damages of alcohol in Estonia," introduced at a National Institute for Health Development (NIHD) conference on Tuesday. According to a poll conducted by the Estonian Institute of Economic Research (EKI),...
Society
Trying to keep on top of the movements of the political parties in Estonia can be a bit like herding the proverbial cats at times, particularly now we're in election season. From an "anglophone"* perspective, there are plenty of parties — around nine in all, three in government, three in opposition and three more potentially winning a few seats in March. This compares with three and a half parties in Britain (UKIP is the "half"), outside of Northern Irelan...
Politics
The opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia has in large part decided its top candidates for the March 2019 Riigikogu elections, to be officially confirmed by the party board on Friday. EKRE's top candidate for Harju and Rapla Counties, Estonia's largest electoral district, will be MP Henn Põlluaas. Party chairman Mart Helme, meanwhile, will run in the number one spot in Pärnu County. Monika Helme will top the party's election list in Lääne, Saar...
Society
Hot on the heels of the Social Democratic (SDE) and Reform parties announcing their primary candidates in each of the 12 electoral districts at the March 2019 general election, ruling coaltion majority party Centre has done the same. Centre, from whose ranks Prime Minister Jüri Ratas comes, will run the latter in Harju and Rapla counties, with three current ministers, one MEP and the deputy head of the Riigikogu joining him as front-runners in other distri...
Society
Prosecutor General Lavly Perling will present an overview of requests for legal help, originating from the Russian Federation, to the Riigikogu on Tuesday. Letters from Russian authorities in 2012 and 2014 reportedly made clear reference to money laundering activity and requested witness input. According to business daily Äripäev, Ms Perling confirmed the letters contained direct reference to money laundering but were confidential and their contents not or...
Society
Coalition partner the Social Democratic party (SDE) has announced its top riders for the March 2019 elections in Estonia's 12 electoral districts, though its full list will be confirmed in December, the party says. There are no real surprises on a well-stocked list which includes the recently-attracted Indrek Tarad, currently still an independent MEP. Mr Tarand, whilst standing for SDE, has not as yet become a party member. Since the system in Estonia is a...
Society
According to Statistics Estonia, the change of the consumer price index in October 2018 was 0.5% compared to September and 4.4% compared to October of the previous year. Goods were 3.7% and services 5.7% more expensive compared to October 2017, while regulated prices of goods and services increased by 9.1%, and non-regulated prices by 3.1%. Compared to October 2017, the consumer price index was affected the most by transport, which contributed nearly a thi...
Society
The Ministry of Culture has rejected the request of English-language web magazine Estonian World (EW) for support from the state to to the tune of €5,000 for the remainder of 2018. The ministry has, however, promised to seek opportunities for supporting the portal in 2019. "Unfortunately, the support to this extent of English-language Estonian media outlets is not provided for in the agenda and budget of the government-approved Compatriots Programme for th...
Society
Last Wednesday, Theatre NO99 abruptly announced that it would be closing its doors, with its final performances scheduled for November and December. The theatre will be vacating a large building at the Central Tallinn address of Sakala 3, interest in which has been expressed by Sakala Skene, a new open centre for the performing arts and theatre education. Sakala Skene is a new brand uniting Polygon Theatre and Polygon Threatre School, Old Baskin's Theatre,...