Lauristin: Ilves didn’t live up to expectations making citizens’ voice heard (1)
Member of the European Parliament and Social Democrat Marju Lauristin finds that outgoing president Toomas Hendrik Ilves didn’t live up to expectations when it comes to bring the state back to the people. His successor would have to give the citizens’ voice a lot more weight, Lauristin said to daily Postimees.
“In 2012 there was a very nice debate in the media, with some very sharp articles that were written. Then the People’s Assembly came into being, where people submitted masses of ideas. But unfortunately this was never finished. One has to say that our current president didn’t manage to fill the role society expected him to in this case,” Lauristin said.
An online platform was created in 2012 for citizens to submit and discuss ideas on various issues related to "the electoral system, political parties, competition between the political parties and their internal democracy, financing of the political parties, strengthening the role of civic society in politics between the elections, and stopping the politicization of public offices.” Though this did lead to an eventual selection of suggestions submitted to the legislator by President Ilves, the idea, along with the online platform, has since been neglected.
Lauristin said to Postimees that there had been the hope that the president would act as an amplifier for the voice of the people, but that Ilves had instead concentrated on his work towards Estonia’s recognition abroad. “Now we expect that the new president isn’t only a voice towards the outside, internationally, but that they are open to the voice of the people as well,” she added.
Asked about the candidates in Monday’s presidential election, Lauristin said that her party’s candidate, President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor (SDE), had “endless good will and the ability to listen”. On the other hand, Siim Kallas’ foreign policy experience couldn’t be ignored.