Savisaar a 'Religious,' Not a Political Figure, Says Raud ({{commentsTotal}})

Professor Rein Raud Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The royalties-for-loans scandal currently hovering over Tallinn mayor Edgar Savisaar has little effect on his party's reputation, as his supporters and opponents have made their minds up long ago, says Tallinn University professor Rein Raud.

"The Center Party stopped functioning like a normal political party some while ago, it is more a religious group that centers around the one savior,“ Raud told

"Those who believe Savisaar, believe everything he says, or at least acknowledge it publicly. His proponents believe him to be capable of any evil act,“ said Raud.

Raud said the situation of infallibility is a "tragedy" to any politician who bears it, and in Savisaar's case, he himself built that shield.

According to TNS Emor, the Center Party's rating has been between 19 and 28 percent since the end of 2009. IRL's rating has also been stable, ranging from 11 to 21 percent.

The Social Democrats have been favored by as few as eight and as many as 30 percent of Estonians, while the Reform Party's popularity has swung from 20 to 43 percent.

Edgar Savisaar's lawyer said last week that a 173,000-euro loan from Liechtenstein businessman Peter Keiser was discharged using royalties from Savisaar's books. The nation's political party financing oversight committee chairman had raised the question of whether the loan repayment was a gift.

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