Chairman of the Reform Party and PM Andrus Ansip said the Non-profit Associations Act does not stipulate that a person must be physically present at a congress to participate in internal elections.
“Estonian legislation’s definition of meeting participation is wider than just physically sitting in a chair in one certain room,” the Prime Minister said, speaking in front of Parliament Wednesday.
Alari Rammo, responsible for policy and legal matters at the Network of Estonian NGOs, said on Monday that the Reform Party leadership elections were illegal, as according to the law, all voters at a party congress must be physically present to be legible for voting, meaning that any votes cast online should automatically be annulled.
Priidu Pärna, president of the Lawyers Union, said that currently no law regulates electronic voting in non-profit associations and where such a method is used, it should be in the Reform Party regulations, which it is not.
Ansip said that the Commercial Code, which governs businesses, goes into greater detail on organizing meetings and elections, which means that lawmakers have given non-profit associations more freedom, as the Non-profit Associations Act does not go into such detail.
The head of Parliament's political party financing oversight committee, Ardo Ojasalu, said the internal elections system of the Reform Party could have left the backdoor open knowingly, Postimees reported.
Ojasalu, a former Social Democrat MP, said he knew a long time ago that the Reform Party counted e-votes at its internal elections, but presumed they were made by registered e-voters.
An internal investigation found 71 violations at last month’s Reform Party leadership election, a number comprising 2.1 percent of the total votes.
Of all votes cast, 80 to 90 percent were e-votes.