How Do citizens’associations affect elections?
The purpose of the article is to give an overview of the creation of the elections platform of the umbrella organisation, the Federation of Estonian Student Unions, communication with political parties during the Riigikogu campaign, and follow-up activities.
The elections platform of the Federation of Estonian Student Unions was formed on the basis of the input received from members on the initiative of the Executive Committee. The platform formulated in 14 items the expectations of students to the political parties who stood as candidates in the elections.
After adopting the elections platform, the platform was sent to political parties and their feedback was asked. In cooperation with the umbrella organisation of universities, the Council of Rectors, two round table discussions were organised in the course of which the expectations were forwarded to political parties. In addition, two public addresses were prepared one of which was sent to political parties before the Riigikogu elections and the other at the time of coalition negotiations.
After the Riigikogu elections, active communication with the political parties participating in the coalition negotiations, and lobbying took place. The Federation of Estonian Student Unions was mentioned as the only citizens’ association in the signed coalition agreement and a new education allowances system for students was promised which had been one of the main requirements in the elections platform.
After signature of the coalition agreement, the Federation of Estonian Student Unions organised the “26.6 Action” which was aimed to drawing attention to the inadequate education allowances system (26.6 kroons per day for a student to live on).
The Federation of Estonian Student Unions has now started to prepare the elections platform for the 2011 Riigikogu elections which is expected to be ready by November 2010 at the latest.