Elections 2013: The Party Platforms

Reform Party election event Photo: ERR
10/14/2013 3:03 PM
Category: Politics

Here is our roundup of the 2013 Estonian municipal elections' platforms. Although candidates are vying for seats in over 200 local governments, the Tallinn election will be the most observed, and therefore has a special focus in this overview. Advance and e-voting began on October 10 and Election Day is October 20.

Reform Party
Political slant: Free market liberal
Main pitch: Helsinki-level salaries for Tallinners
Top planks in Tallinn: Tidying up the city budget, cutting administrative costs by 10 percent and investing 15 million euros a year in fixing up streets and roads, more business conferences and a better image
Expert critiques: Good goals but a lack of concrete steps to achieve them, Helsinki-level salaries requires rebalancing of low and high skill workers, modernization requires better universities and international businesses
Mayoral candidate in Tallinn: Businessman, musician and politician Valdo Randpere
Party chairman: Prime Minister Andrus Ansip

Political slant: National conservative
Main pitch: Honest and corruption-free city governance, improved business climate and school system
Top planks in Tallinn: Full audit of undisclosed city documents, rewards for whistleblowers - the fight against corruption
Expert critiques: Although a strong message, nothing new in fighting corruption or Center Party domination. Still, fresh and aggressive campaign tactics have been effective, even if they overshadow party’s constructive platform ideas
Mayoral candidate in Tallinn: Former diplomat, intelligence chief and entrepreneur Eerik-Niiles Kross
Party chairman: Defense Minister Urmas Reinsalu  

Social Democratic Party
Political slant: Progressive social reform
Main pitch: Overhauling city administration by empowering the district levels, cutting expenses and promoting transparency
Top planks in Tallinn: Resolving shortage of spaces in kindergartens, fixing up roads, guaranteeing schooling close to home, extracurricular and sports activities, cutting city media budget
Expert critiques: Platform has shared and opposing elements with both Tallinn leaders and national coalition parties. Government overhaul won’t free up as much funding as expected, and city should instead focus on promoting business to boost tax receipts
Mayoral candidate in Tallinn: MP and former leading police official Andres Anvelt
Party chairman: MP Sven Mikser

Center Party
Political slant: Centrist, social liberal
Main pitch: More social benefits
Top planks in Tallinn: Increase road repair funding by 25 million euros, double funding for free school meals, food benefits for elderly, new Lutheran church in Mustamäe, car-free Viru street, expanding free public transport program to trains
Expert critiques: Clearer campaign promises needed, e.g. the party promises free student meals when two-thirds is currently funded by the national government. Other pledges overlap with other parties. Center has the benefit and detriment of being the incumbent and therefore a track record which voters can judge
Mayoral candidate in Tallinn: Incumbent Edgar Savisaar
Party chairman: Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar

Conservative People's Party
Political slant: National conservative, far right
Main pitch: Policy that ensures Estonians' vitality
Top planks in Tallinn: Administration in the Estonian language, free parking in the city center, cheaper trash collection and heating
Expert critiques: Many rely on Russian-language information. Activity of public service monopolies, such as trash and heating companies, can be restricted, but another funding source must be found.
Mayoral candidate in Tallinn: Former ambassador to Russia, Mart Helme
Party chairman: Mart Helme  

Free Tallinn Citizen (election coalition)
Political slant: N/A
Main pitch: Smaller city government of experts, not politicians
Top planks in Tallinn: Buying back a majority stake in and restructuring the water utility, abandoning Town Hall construction and merging it with renovating the Linnahall convention center, razing what can be razed in Mustamäe's aging Soviet buildings
Expert critiques: No such thing as a free lunch
Mayoral candidate in Tallinn: Former Tallinn mayor Hardo Aasmäe, geographer and businessman
Chairman: Businessman and athlete Karli Lambot

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