Mart Laar launches a book about his first government
The former Estonian Prime Minister Mart Laar presents a diary about his first government today.
Laar became the PM after Pro Patria Union – the party he led – won the first Parliament elections in 1992; and served until 1994 when he stood down due to conflicts in the coalition government. He regained the position in 1999, after Pro Patria Union, the Reform Party and the Social Democrats (then called Moderates) formed the government, which lasted until 2002.
Laar's book, titled “Turnaround”, concentrates on the turbulent period in the Estonian history in 1992-1994, when the country that had just regained its independence from the Soviet Union, was on its knees.
Along with former President Lennart Meri, Laar is widely credited with turning Estonia around in the dire circumstances, thanks to his Cabinet introducing sweeping reforms. His government introduced flat income tax, privatized most national industries in public tenders, abolished tariffs and subsidies, stabilized the economy and balanced the budget. In foreign policy, Estonia was decisively turned towards the West, rather than its former imperial oppressor, Russia.
At the time, Laar was often criticized at home for his handling of some of the conflicts and troubles that the young republic encountered, and also for miscommunication by his coalition partners. He was forced to resign in September 1994 after no-confidence vote in the Parliament, when a number of coalition members withdrew their support for the government.
Laar, who coincidentally celebrates his 55th birthday today, suffered a stroke in 2012, which forced him to resign from politics. The fact that he will never again run for any high-rank political position has enabled him to go public with his memoirs, as he writes in the opening remarks of his book.
The book also features many photos and other memorabilia.