Top EP Candidates (Minus One) Meet in Radio Debate
With the exception of the Center Party's Edgar Savisaar, who canceled half an hour before the event, the leading candidates from all of the major parties and a few small fry met in a radio debate.
Andrus Ansip (Reform), Marju Lauristin (Social Dems), Tunne Kelam (IRL) and Martin Helme (Conservative People's Party), along with three politicians representing marginal forces, Vello Leito (Independence Party), Marko Kaasik (Greens) and Valev Kald (Left Party) participated in the Vikerraadio debate.
The ERR judges' panel at uudised.err.ee found that Lauristin won, beating Ansip, with Kelam third and Helme a distant fourth.
On the issues, Kelam and Lauristin said EU "federalization" was a straw man and scare tactic, and that politicians should talk about real areas where the EU could be more cohesive. Ansip said he didn't see either crumbling or federalization possible, anyway - not in the next ten years.
On the subject of gay marriage, Helme spoke of a "values crisis," saying "bearded women" had become an icon and the trend did not bode well. Kelam said the issue was not something that could be regulated by Brussels and should be left up to the member states. He sought to link the issue to birth rate, expressing concern about falling fertility. Lauristin said that legislation had to reflect the acceptance that society already bestows on various unconventional types of families. Ansip called for more tolerance, saying it was time to understand that people were different, and that same-sex couples needed legislative protection.
On Russia, nearly all parties came out against visa freedom with Russia, except for Kald of the Left Party. Lauristin and Ansip called for visa freedom to be frozen.