Incumbent Helir-Valdor Seeder, who has said he will run for re-election, faces a challenge from former Attorney General Lavly Perling, who heads a faction of Isamaa known as the Right-Handed (Estonian: Parempoolsed ), which despite its name generally refers to party members at the more socially liberal end of the Isamaa spectrum. The Parempoolsed emerged last year at a time when Isamaa was in power with the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE) and was outspoken against populism. Since then, the party has found itself in the opposition, while one of the points of controversy, a referendum planned on the definition of marriage, was put in a box with the entry into office of the Reform / Center coalition in January. .
The convention takes place on the grounds of the Tartu Song Festival on June 20. Earlier reports indicated that the convention would be postponed after local elections on October 17, a move that would have granted Helir-Valdor Seeder an additional year on top of his usual post. term, encountered opposition.
The party has faced internal divisions and upheavals, including a recent failed attempt at a business merger by a right-wing group, in the ordinary sense of the term, Rahva tahe, which is said to have added more than 500 new members, and Seeder has in recent months called for the exclusion of internal party critics.
The June 20 convention will also host elections for the party’s board of directors, its court of honor – the body that oversees members’ behavior among other aspects of party life and its review committee.
Several prominent members of Isamaa are vying for the board, including MPs Viktoria Ladõnskaja-Kubits, Aivar Kokk and Priit Sibul – the latter leading the party’s Riigikogu group – and former government ministers Raivo Aeg, Tõnis Lukas , Marko Pomerants, Urmas Reinsalu, Riina Solman and Sven Sester. In total, 34 people are in the running, with 20 positions to be filled.
Sixteen leading members of the party are candidates for positions in the court of honor of nine people, while only one more person is a candidate for the review committee than there are positions (five) to be filled.
Lavly Perling served as Attorney General from October 2014 to October 2019, and then Acting Attorney General for a few months thereafter, until Andres Parmas took office in February of last year.
Isamaa regularly polls around the 5% mark, a significant figure as this is also the proportion of votes needed in a constituency to win seats, according to d’Hondt’s modified system of proportional representation in Estonia. However, the party has voted at such levels in the past in the months leading up to the election, and it has always emerged with seats, for example before the general election in March 2019.
The party recently proposed a vote of no confidence in Defense Minister Kalle Laanet (Reformist) in response to recently announced defense spending cuts.