VIDEO INTERVIEW: The Man Who Started Silvergate
Silver Meikar, a former Estonian MP currently working for the Estonian Institute of Human Rights, sat down for an interview with ERR News editor Ott Tammik.
Last May, Meikar wrote a newspaper article revealing that, between 2009–2010, he donated the equivalent of 7,350 euros to the prime minister's Reform Party. He alleged that high-level officials had asked him to donate it on their behalf without saying where the money came from.
The article prompted a criminal investigation in which the current justice minister and another member of Parliament were suspects. In October, the party was cleared of suspicion and the Estonian cabinet remained intact. Meikar was then thrown out of the party for damaging its reputation and the money he had donated was transferred to the state budget.
Although absolved of wrongdoing, part of the testimonies from the criminal investigation were released to the public and were criticized as dubious, fueling demonstrations and the opposition Social Democrats' call for early elections.
The party's popularity declined to a three-year low-point of 26 percent in mid-November, down from 39 percent in August, according to an Emor poll commissioned by ERR. The Reform Party was just a point ahead of the Social Democrats.
On November 14, a multilateral group of public figures including academics and elected officials published Charter 12, a petition decrying the current political situation and calling for reform. Available in English, the document has received 17,600 signatures online.
Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves held a roundtable to address the grievances on November 21.
Among other things, the petition calls for transparent political financing and electoral reform. Meikar was one of the drafters.