Estonia: Another six MPs leave Estonian Centre Party

Another six members of the Estonian parliament, the Riigikogu, have resigned from the opposition Estonian Centre Party (Keskerakond), and four of them joined the Social Democratic Party (SDE), which is part of the current coalition government, ERR reports. One of those leaving is Tanel Kiik, chairman of the Centre Party’s parliamentary group. Earlier, two of the party’s MPs joined the opposition Fatherland (Isamaa) and one joined the ruling Estonian Reform Party. Of the 16 Centre Party MPs elected to parliament in March 2023, nine have quit the party since Tallinn mayor Mihhail Kõlvart was elected chairman in September 2023. The exodus has made the Centre Party the smallest party in the Riigikogu, and its parliamentary group is now mostly Russian-speaking. Estonia’s EU commissioner, long-time Centre Party member Kadri Simson, stated that Kõlvart was harming the party, saying that it was becoming “Tallinn-centric.” Despite the defections, SDE does not intend to withdraw from its coalition with the Centre Party in the Tallinn city council, ERR reports.