Letter Signers Claim Estonia Turning into 'Ignoreland' (6)

One of the letter's signatories, Tartu University sociologist Marju Lauristin Photo: ERR
11/14/2012 12:37 PM
Category: Politics

Despite stable popularity ratings for the Reform Party and relative quiet on the political front other than threatened stalling tactics from an opposition party over the budget, the rhetorical attacks on the coalition have escalated yet again.

Seventeen intellectuals and policy makers published a letter on the Internet on November 14 in which they called for more transparency and truth from government and, perhaps most controversially, proposed an "alternative institution" representing the people.

The letter, pitched as a charter, said there should be a "new social contract" and an end to what they see as a monopoly on power by the Reform Party, which has governed for two successive terms.

"Estonian democracy is crumbling before our eyes. Democratic legitimacy has ceased to function - meaning the daily feedback channel between the government and public that gives authorities the knowledge that they legitimately represent the people, and which gives the public certainty that the authorities are its representatives," read the letter.

The letter accused the government of demagoguery and said:

"The dialogue between government and the public has turned into a monologue: 'We have a mandate.' 'There is no alternative to us.' This is not the language of democracy."
   
"If the system is not able to reform itself, civic society must summon an alternative institution in which representatives of civil society would be predominant," read the letter. It  did not further specify what such an institution would be or how members would be chosen. 

One of the 17 signers, sociologist Marju Lauristin, signed 1980's "letter of the 40," which expressed discontent over the way power was wielded in a different Estonia - in that case by Moscow.

Among the other signers are Reform Party whistleblower and ex-member Silver Meikar, MEP Indrek Tarand, former government PR man Daniel Vaarik and sociologist Juhan Kivirähk.

Despite the proliferation of anti-Ansip sentiment over such issues as ACTA and the government's nationalization of social fund reserves, opinion polls have not shown much erosion in the Reform Party's ratings. Barring defections, it is still believed to command a solid majority in Parliament along with coalition partner IRL. 


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