Ilves Meets Party Leaders to Discuss Fraud in Internal Party Vote
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves called in the heads of Parliament's four parties for a meeting in Kadriorg today, saying in a statement that the ruling Reform Party's internal election scandal had exceeded all tolerable limits.
On Wednesday, MEP Kristiina Ojuland was thrown out of the Reform Party for allegedly rigging votes in a party leadership election in May.
Ilves, a champion of electronic public services, said in a statement that the turmoil could give others - without stipulating whom - an opportunity to undermine trust in Estonia's pioneering e-election system, despite the fact that the party election was based on a completely different electronic system than government elections.
"I am glad that this time the circumstances were clarified and the culprits were punished quickly,” Ilves said, adding that the scandal may have dealt a blow to public trust of politicians and Estonia's image.
Speaking with ERR radio, Edgar Savisaar, Tallinn mayor and head of the opposition Center Party, said he believed the that the situation is not a sweeping crisis of political culture, but a crisis of the ruling coalition.
"Ratings are down for the ruling parties, not the opposition. That means the public wants to see the government switched out and political change,” Savisaar said.