Leaders of special needs groups to run for Parliament in opposition party

Tiia Sihver and Tiina Kangro (ERR)
12/5/2014 3:56 PM
Category: Politics

After losing a heated battle with the authorities over the work ability reform, the representatives of the special needs groups and the caregivers union have decided to run for the Parliament in the IRL election list. But they will not become members of that national conservative party.

The representatives of the unions have not yet released the names of the candidates. "Our wish is that a few people would get elected," said Tiina Kangro, leader of the Estonian Union of Carers.

The unions' social justice work group, in cooperation with the IRL, has already put together a social protection strategy. The strategy aims to create possibilities for each individual, regardless of his or her disability, to cope on their own and take control of their lives. "For a while now the politicians have had this do-gooder attitude that they bestow gifts upon the weaker, teach the poor goofies and help them, or make them work. But it does not work like that," said Kangro, who is one of the authors of the strategy.

"Estonia has developed its economy and the state, but forgotten its people. However, the neglected and poorly maintained human resource has become a hindrance to economic development and sustainability," says the strategy.

The strategy also touches upon education, labor market, economy, administrative reform, healthcare reform and many other areas.

Kangro said that the strength of their candidates lies in their intimate relation with many civil society groups and the fact that they are a tight group of people with fixed aims and principles.

She estimates that the unions represent the interests of 200,000 disabled people, plus their family members and other contacts - altogether around half a million people.

The candidates put forward by the special needs groups and the caregivers union will not join the IRL party.

The decision to revert from participatory democracy to representative democracy was a forced move, taken after the meeting with President Ilves in the beginning of the week. Despite the attempts to convince him to veto the work ability reform, passed by the Parliament on November 19, the president promulgated it today. The representatives said that they have come to an understanding that it is "virtually impossible" to influence government decisions in the current framework of participatory democracy.


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