Independent MEP: Don't Count Votes for Me As 'Protest Votes'
MEP Indrek Tarand has registered with the Estonian election commission to stand as candidate again in the European Parliament elections. He says he hopes to repeat the feat of 2009, when he received over 100,000 votes.
Tarand, who nearly picked up the equivalent of two mandates that time, told ERR radio news that he don't rule out getting more this time.
"But much has to be done, elections are a civic holiday, when voters make conscientious decisions with their votes," he said.
University of Tartu senior researcher Piret Ehin has said she doesn't see it likely any individual candidate - there are six this time - will garner enough votes to win a seat single-handedly (i.e., not though a party list) as Estonians have no reason for massive protest behavior.
Tarand told the radio interviewer in response that pundits and political scientists have been known to be wrong.
"I'd stress that protest votes are not a fruitful concept for me," he said. "It is a trait associated with political laziness and doesn't contain any scientific curiosity. When people vote, they give their vote to someone according to Estonian laws. We don't have the practice, seen in Latvia,that you can also vote against someone as a protest. So there's no point in describing votes for me as protest toes. I could just as well describe votes for Center as protest votes against Reform Party, and vice versa.
"Citizens are free to do what they want with their vote and if anyone is protesting, maybe it's the ones who don't vote at all."