EMSL, a network of Estonian NGOs, has listed the top unethical political ad methods used so far in the run-up to next month's local elections.
The panel, which included sociologist Juhan Kivirähk, political scientist Mari-Liis Jakobson and Toomas Mattson from the National Audit Office, assessed ads on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the worst violators.
6th place: Edgar Savisaar's cafe ads, 1.7 points
Posters with very similar designs to the Center Party's campaign posters have appeared in Tallinn promoting the “Edgar Cafe,” a venue on a hill above Freedom Square, overlooking the city's government building. The opening was attended by Savisaar, who handed out free coffee and pastries.
5th place: the copying of municipality slogans, 2.6 points
The Reform Party in Haapsalu and a election coalition in Meremäe municipality in Võru County are using their respective local government's slogans on their campaign posters.
4th place: Eerik-Niiles Kross's anti-Savisaar campaign, 2.9 points
The guerrilla political ad campaign run by IRL aimed at Savisaar's alleged corruption has used, among other instruments, a remote-controlled helicopter.
3rd place: decoy candidates, 3.0 points
Out of 101 MPs, a full 93 are running for local offices. A number of government ministers have also put their names forward, without anyone expecting them to actually climb down the political career ladder and take local office.
2nd place: “Tallinn Helps” campaign, 3.7 points
The Tallinn government put up posters advertizing new playgrounds and kindergarten places, even during the period when outdoor political ads were banned. The panel found that the Center Party was in essence using taxpayer money to promote their achievements.
1st place: Tallinn politicians on taxpayer funded posters, 3.9 points
In August, Põhja-Tallinn district elder Karin Tammemägi and deputy elder Priit Kutser had posters featuring giant pictures of themselves promoting the city's sporting events or developments put up. Mayor Savisaar, meanwhile, is pictured on a poster playing the drums and advertizing the opening of a stadium (see picture). All of these ads were at the expense of the taxpayer.