neljapäev, august 17, 2006

Democracy in Action

Some people think that the Estonian Presidential election is a done deal. It's all been rigged by the minority in government - a failed parliamentary round, followed by an electoral college vote that could guarantee Arnold Rüütel another five years in government.

What is a citizen - who under the terms of the constitution is denied the ability to directly elect a president - to do in this scenario? The ideal for the Center Party and Eestmaa Rahvaliit would be that Estonians keep doing as they are doing - they'll complain about Edgar Savisaar's power grab and mock Rüütel as an old, ineffectual leader. But their opposition will stop at derision and humor and jokes. And that will have no effect on Savisaar and Reiljan at all.

But instead of taking the decision of the valimiskogu lying down, there is something Estonians can do about the presidential election: annoy the shit out of your municipal representatives.

I am not going to endorse anyone here. But the clear popular favorite is Toomas Hendrik Ilves. But if you want Ilves, or Ergma, or Rüütel, or even Edgar Savisaar - you should let your local municipal council members know. Better yet, tell them that you will be watching them. Tell them you will demand a vote for a certain candidate, and if your candidate doesn't receive the vote you want - then you will never vote for them, or their party, again.

So for the next eleven days I will be putting up the contact information for different municpalities, starting with the capital of Tallinn.

For Tallinn, you need to contact -

Elmar Sepp head of the Keskerakond faction.
Keit Pentus, head of the Reform faction.
Toomas Tõniste, head of the Isamaliit faction.
Erika Salumäe, head of the Social Democrats.

If you want to e-mail everyone, you can contact them here.

Again, I am not advocating a particular candidacy. But I am trying to make sure that regular Estonians have an opportunity to tell the valimiskogu what they think. If anyone wants to help, they can post more contacts in the comments section to different municipalities and I wil be glad to put them up in future posts.


Anyone who wants to contact representatives in Võru municipality can contact Võrulinn esimees Tõnu Anton, who also heads KESK in Võrulinn, as well as this general inbox.


Anyone that wants to contact city council members in Narva can try Mihhail Stalnuhhin, chairman of the Narva city council. Here is also a list of Narva council members although, conveniently, they cannot be reached by e-mail. Try also Narva mayor Tarmo Tammiste.

6 kommentaari:

Estonia in World Media (Rus) ütles ...

Tallinn is a state within state. The preferences are solid there, agreed and enforced in parties' offices. It is counties' chieftains, normally of zero importance to the Tallinn politicians, who form that 30% of the local representatives refusing to say who they'd support. The chances of blizkrieg in the Parlament may be lost, but the war isn't yet.

The battles will rage in the coutryside: town by town, village by village, down to the last swamp-smelling asula.

Giustino ütles ...

I'm thinking of putting up Võru and Saaremaa next. But I can't find good links to their municipal council members.

Jan Schuster ütles ...

I think Rüütel is not the worst choice. And for the electoral pocedure is to say that Estonian constitution may be modern in some terms but it insists on some logical errors the US system does, too, e.g. the fact that you can win (particular) elections without the majority of people backing you.
Honestly I think there are greater things to fear for Estonia. Imagine an estonian Paskas or a growing minority of right wing ignorants polemizing every other minority like ethnical Russian or gays and destabilizing the country in a discourse how to cope.

Giustino ütles ...

And for the electoral pocedure is to say that Estonian constitution may be modern in some terms but it insists on some logical errors the US system does, too, e.g. the fact that you can win (particular) elections without the majority of people backing you.

What's wrong is when the popular favorite is denied to the people for bureaucratic reasons.

If a real election were held today Rüütel would lose and lose badly. But because of this weird electoral system he may get to stay in office another five years ... well, just because.

That's bad for the Estonian people because it degrades their faith in their government. Because the less say they have in the decision making process, the less they care about how the government is managed.

Speaking of our electoral system, I don't like that either. And that's why our 2000 election created such bitterness here in the US. People are still fighting about it.

You can live with a popular decision. I didn't like that Bush won in 2004, but I accepted it. But it's harder to accept the decision of a faceless electoral body that's not responsible to anyone for their votes.

Jan Schuster ütles ...

For me as a German it is very normal that a president is not elected by or responsible to the people. We live (except of one president called Lübke) very good with that and avoided populist decisions by democtarically not so trained people in the early years of our country. I think that's excactly the point of the constitution.
Anyway, in Germany they failed to change the system back to peoples election, but here is no necessity for such a step, because our head of state has almost no competences at all. But I agree that in a stable system a president with considerable competences should be elected by a clear chain of delegation either directly through the people or indirectly through the parlament but in all cases without any obscure embody which is constructed only for this reason.

Anonüümne ütles ...

I have a better suggestion: why not write to Mr Rüütel directly?

Perhaps say a few words about how one thanks him for his time in the office, but then suggest that perhaps it would be better to listen to his wife who also prefers him not to run.

And add that I also believe it is time to move on and give others a chanse to lead Estonia to the future.