The Free Party's Assembly gathered last weekend to do some soul searching, pass its manifesto and define what the party stands for. It also voiced its opposition to Estonia-Russia border treaty.
Andres Herkel, the head of the party, said that in a traditional political spectrum, Free Party stands on the center-right.
The party's manifesto, entitled “It's better to be free”, makes a reference to the political testament of Jaan Tõnisson, one of the most prominent Estonian statesmen in pre-war independent republic, who was fighting for the democratic ideals until the Soviets imprisoned and executed him in 1941. Tõnisson was also known to support nationalism that would stand on strong moral grounds and would have to grow strong in spirit.
Herkel said that Free Party wants to encourage strong citizens' initiative and grassroots democracy.
“We see Estonia as dynamic, free and caring European country. We are convinced that all major decisions must take into account the welfare and well-being of Estonian people. Social responsibility, equal rights and opportunities, encouraging free enterprise and curbing over-regulation and overbearing state are a must for us,” Herkel said.
Herkel added that the party sees Estonia as an open nation state, which is integral part of Europe and the free world. “We will do our part to ensure that Estonia has a place among the international order but at the same time, our constitutional values – democracy, the rule of law, Estonian culture and language – would remain.”
Free Party against the border treaty
Party's Assembly also decided that the party will not give its approval to the ratification of Estonia-Russia border treaty. Party's MP Andres Ammas said last week that there are two specific reasons: there is no justification of how the maritime border between the two countries is planned and secondly, there is no mention of Treaty of Tartu, which recognized the independence of Estonia by Russia in 1920.
“It seems to us that one of the most fundamental concerns for Estonians is a worry about Treaty of Tartu – it has become an archetype of what the Estonian statehood is based upon. People are concerned that by ratifying Estonian-Russian border treaty, something very valuable will be given away,” said Ülo Mattheus, party's press secretary.
Mattheus said that there is no moral ground to ratify a treaty with the country that doesn't respect international laws, nor honors sovereignty of other states – a reference to Russia's behavior in Ukraine.
Mattheus said that the party did not find a single reason to support the ratification and added that no border treaty has ever guaranteed peace.
Ammas went further and said that “one doesn't make a contract with an aggressor.”
The Free Party was officially registered as a political party just last year, after a number of disgruntled former members of IRL decided to go their own way. The party managed to enter the Parliament in March, winning 8 seats. Its popularity has since increased, fluctuating between 15-20 percent, but constantly eclipsing IRL's support.
Editor: S. Tambur