No. 14

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More Principles Are Needed

  • Helle Ruusing

    Editor-in-Chief, Information Adviser of the Chancellery of the Riigikogu

Estonian parties have partisan interests in abundance, but a shortage of worldview, firm convictions and principles.

To this point, the post-election coalition forming process has proceeded based not on worldview but on convenience. Thus the electorate has to be reminded time and again in the run-up to elections about who exactly they are dealing with. There is a need to distance oneself from coalition partners, devise catchy slogans, draw a new logo or even change their name. New faces must be found. It is annoying to hear again and again that someone joined a party they received the best offer from that party. For a party it is not important whether someone shares their worldview as long as he or she picks up enough votes. And people do not care whether a party represents their worldview or not, just as long as they make the best offer. Everything takes place in public, without any modesty. Time has shown, however, that even the best offer can turn out to be a major failure. Straw men based on opposites are set up just for elections: the former and the current, the ethical and the unethical, the favourites and bêtes noires of the media. If desired, a label can be pinned on everyone, and the “victims” can even reap benefits from a negative label.

Voters on the other hand would like to know what are a party’s views on tax, social, education and health care policy. They would like a comprehensive vision that would ensure development in the longer term as well, not individual planks in the platform, like lowering the income tax or increasing the parental benefit or pension.

Two days before the 89 th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, on 22 February 2007, the 10 th Riigikogu will hold its final session. Time will show what the assembly’s claim to lasting fame will be. Certainly we should acknowledge those sixty or so deputies who received their mandates from the people on 2 March 2003 and served their electors honestly for four years in parliament. This spring the people will make a new choice, and, the writer believes, not on the basis of how successful the campaign is but on worldview.

Full article in Estonian

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