Free Party issues freedom manifesto in effort to break democracy 'deadlock'

Free Party leader Heiki Lill (foreground).
Free Party leader Heiki Lill (foreground). Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

The non-parliamentary Free Party has adopted a "freedom manifesto", in the light of what it calls a deadlock in democracy in Estonia.

The Free Party had six seats in the XIII Riigikogu, but lost them all at the March general election, in the wake of falling membership and three changes in leadership within the course of a few months.

"The Riigikogu is in a situation where the coalition is nothing of the kind, and neither is the opposition," said the party's current leader, Heiki Lill.

"If the representatives of the people are not free in their actions and cannot make decisions based on their best beliefs and the best goals for the voter, then the people, who might come to feel a bit like a dairy cow, will suffer. Every four years, bluffing and naked promises are made. The focus must be on improving the quality of life of the population," Lill added.

The Free Party's new freedom manifesto calls on all, residents of Estonia and members of the other political parties, to cooperate in order to change the current system.

The Free Party says it is preparing for next year's local elections and the 2023 Riigikogu elections and therefore has no plans to wind up, though it says it is open to negotiations and cooperation with any political forces which share its worldview.

Kaul Nurm led the party into the March general election and the May European elections, having replaced Andres Herkel the previous Autumn. Nurm stepped down in early June, with Heiki Lill elected new leader soon after. An earlier leader had been Artur Talvik, who later founded his own party, Richness of Life. The latter contested its first elections in March.

The Free Party polled a little over 1 percent of the vote at the general election, far below the 5 percent threshold required for seats. It had been dogged with falling membership and thus dues – political parties require a minimum of 500 members to be registered; this figure was in some jeopardy in late 2018 for the Free Party but it stabilized in the meantime.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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