laupäev, september 23, 2006

Welcome to Kadriorg

I would like to think I am a reasonable man. I may not be, but that still doesn't help me from trying to be as unbiased as I can. Call it my nervous journalist's tick.

But before I was a journalist, I had a love of politics. And, let me tell you, the last ten years have not been the best in the US. If you grew up supporting the Democratic Party in the US, it's been ten long years of disappointment since Clinton won the second time - and even that wasn't that thrilling. So, let me just say that I am used to being very disappointed with the outcome of elections.

I therefore awoke this morning early believing in my gut that Villu Reiljan and Edgar Savisaar's political effort to get Rüütel reinstated another five years had paid off. That everything had gone according to their plan, and that even though most Estonians favored one candidate, the valimiskogu would do as their party leaders told them and choose another.

Today, though I was pleasantly surprised to see that the members of the valimiskogu made the decision as individuals and not as party loyalists, and that the kind of democratic freakshow that played out on August 28 - where parliamentarians refused to even vote on a presidential nominee - was not repeated.

I have heard bad things about Toomas Ilves and good things too. But whatever some may think of him, I do think that he really cares about his country and I do think that he really wants to be president.

Now he has that opportunity.

13 kommentaari:

Anonüümne ütles ...

What saddened me is that both campaigns (THI and Rüütel) were effectively runned by others but the candidates themselves. The Knight looked like a mummy when they were counting his votes and his wife looked a shade worse than Lenin. Tom was shaking and was near an anxiety attack once the count went to that last pile after 150. But still, this was a campaign bigger than these two men. For most people, it was for the soul of Estonia.

One interesting thing, as a fellow journalist that work on Estonia, is looking at the commentary on Postimees, Delfi and so forth. When Arnie was elected back in 2001 there were so many calls for assassination and threats to emigrate. This time was the opposite, as most notes were of a congratulatory sense. Media bias or did the electors get it right?

It is a fascinating let's see how bad Riga screws up in a few weeks...

Giustino ütles ...

This time was the opposite, as most notes were of a congratulatory sense. Media bias or did the electors get it right?

People thought that the media favored Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. In some ways it did - but at the same time, it must be said that Clinton was more interesting to write about than his opponents.

So I think there was a similar mix in Estonia's media. I am sure that the Tallinn-Tartu centered Estonian media privately favored Ilves over Rüütel. But at the same time, Ilves was a lesser known quantity stepping into a very new position - a challenger for the presidency.

So he was perhaps more interesting to write about before the election. Anyway, I privately think that Rüütel will enjoy this outcome. And he's left the race with some dignity.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Congratulations to Ilves and to all Estonians. I hope that all Estonians will come to see Savisaar for what he is, a Russian agent posing as an Estonian polititian. In that sense I think the election was as much a referendum against Savisaar and Kesk. Savisaar wanted to pull Estonia further away from the EU and NATO and closer to Mr. Putin's Russia. I think that would be a disaster.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Why don't you believe people can vote for Rüütel as individuals?

Estonia in World Media (Rus) ütles ...

Kallis Tuuli, Sa kindlasti panid tähele, et mehed lähevad Eestis pensionile 65-aastastena. Kui riigipea amet on niivõrd pingevaba, et sellega saab hakkama ka 78-aastane, siis ma olen nõus individuaalkorras Rüütlit pooldama, arvestades seda, et nõunikud teevad vajalikud toimingud ära ja auväärt härrasmees saab pensionipõlve nautida.

Anonüümne ütles ...

actually, I was asking giustino...

Giustino ütles ...

Why don't you believe people can vote for Rüütel as individuals?

I do believe they could have. I am sure that many of them did.

Let me explain my comments this way.

All political analysts were saying that the electoral college ensured Rüütel's reelection. It was considered a done deal.

Their logic - which seemed apparent in KeRa's effort to move the election to the valimiskogu - was that KeRa would count on more party support there.

If KeRa was really strong in representation at the valimiskogu, then today's results showed that people voted as individuals instead of voting party line.

In light of the August 28 vote - where KeRa abstained rather than just vote - which would have had the same effect either way - I am happy that people voted as individuals and produced a result that differed from the logical -"party discipline = guaranteed outcome"

So I am happy that the "guaranteed outcome" didn't happen. Because in democracies, there shouldn't be any guaranteed outcomes BEFORE the elections.

But perhaps this in the end only makes Ilves' presidency stronger. Had he been elected solely by the parliament, there would have been doubts about his support nationally. Rüütel himself said that the valimiskogu was a more democratic institution. So nobody can dispute the results now.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Ok, I get your logic now! Why I asked was that I know someone supporting Rüütel, without being a member of kera. And not being a stupid person at all, not at all. Well, I thought you always want to get the real and true picture and to see all the sides of political processes and events. So, I'm just saying that this was not a black-and-white case. A wise person supporting Rüütel - there must have been reasons,

Anonüümne ütles ...

I think that out of 2 bad choices we took the better one.
And I loved to see Reiljan's face that grumpy :D That man got what he deserved ;)

Giustino ütles ...

A wise person supporting Rüütel - there must have been reasons,

Rüütel is a smart man. I can see why some would vote for him. But I think if he had won this round, then it would have set Ilves up for a victory in 2011. Sort of an inevitable thing. Remember, Rüütel ran and lost in 1996.

And I loved to see Reiljan's face that grumpy :D That man got what he deserved ;);

That's the best part!

Anonüümne ütles ...

I agree, Reiljan's blubbering sore-sore-sore loser commentaries when he came out of the concert hall, ahhh, that was just icing on a very sweet cake. He's a straight up ass and doesn't even bother to hide it...

Ilves is going to do some good things. Or (occasionally) f... up miserably, either one... at least he won't just be a wax statue with a mechanic waving arm. I'm sure he'll provide plenty of fodder for the writing folk ;)

Luarvik ütles ...

I was living in the US at the time of your last elections and could almost draw parallels to elections in Estonia. There was this scary prospect looming in the background - anticipation. Are they REALLY going to elect HIM. Please no. We got it good this time, whilst you have to wait for another couple of years. And then... who knows, maybe Hillary. Got to respect this woman. Will she be shiny, sparkling yet serious enough to unite the Democrats. Moreover, after 8 yrs of stupidity in the White House, it should not be too complicated for democrats to win. I had the honour to work under THI at one point in time. He was fenomenal.

Giustino ütles ...

A lot of work needs to be done. People still think that Estonia is like this poor Soviet backwater where most people speak Russian and the mafia runs the main industries (prostitution, drug smuggling).

Those who read newspapers in the US probably have read some glowing news, because Estonia to us validates our system - it shows that democracy and capitalism make life better. The US NEEDS Estonia to confirm that its ideology is on track.

Russia dislikes Estonia because it shows that its Soviet/Imperial civilization failed. It shows that even Russian language and culture are not superior to the peasant tongue of a bunch of Finnic serfs. So they probably will continue to bitterly seethe as Ilves takes the helm from Rüütel. All of that leads them to reassess their own existence. Because they are already turning inward, and - as the problems in the Caucuses attest - it ain't pretty.

But Western Europe, faced with a crumbling social democratic system that needs a shot in the arm, needs the specter of East Europe as a dangerous, depressed OTHER to use as a prop to keep its elite in power.

I think the Western European elite, however, are coming unglued. Schroeder is gone in Germany, and now Persson is gone in Sweden.

Things are going to change, I can feel it!