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IRL's Kross, Alender defect to Reform Party

Eerik-Niiles Kross. 19SEP14 PHOTO: ERIK PROZES/

High profile politicians of the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) Eerik-Niiles Kross and Yoko Alender are leaving IRL to join the Reform Party.

IRL secretary general Tiit Riisalo told public broadcaster ERR that Kross filed his application to quit IRL on Friday morning.

«I'm joining the Reform Party primarily for two reasons. First, the Reform Party has adopted security policy and national defense as its main concern. It is the main concern also for me. Second, a change of generations is happening in the Reform Party which has made it more open, more positive-minded and actually also bolder,» Kross, 47-year-old vice chairman of IRL and former coordinator of Estonia's security services, said through spokespeople for Reform.

Yoko Alender confirmed her moving to another party in social media.

«I joined the Reform Party and will run in the Riigikogu elections in their ranks. I'm very grateful to the people in IRL who supported me and helped me develop,» the 35-year-old architect turned politician said on Facebook, adding that the past year has shown that the Reform Party is a more suitable place for her to implement her ideas.

Chairman of the opposition Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) Urmas Reinsalu has described the quitting of Tallinn council members Eerik-Niiles Kross and Yoko Alender of IRL to join the ruling Reform Party as a surprise.

«You get surprises every now and then,» Reinsalu said in remarks released by spokespeople for IRL. «This morning Eerik-Niiles Kross came up to me and informed that he has made an agreement with the Reform Party and will join the Reform Party together with Yoko Alender. In his own words, he made the decision just recently. I wish him success pursuing a conservative policy in the family of liberals. A defection like this is not easy for anyone. But the battle we gave to Savisaar together was quite a good one,» Reinsalu said recalling the challenge IRL made to the single-party rule of the Center Party and its leader Edgar Savisaar in the capital Tallinn in the October 2013 local polls with Kross as their candidate for mayor.