Survey: Most Think Economy Minister Should Resign, Residence Permit Scandal Seen as Highest Security Risk ({{commentsTotal}})

Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts
Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

A Turu-uuringute AS survey has found that most respondents would like to see Economic Affairs Minister Juhan Parts resign over questions of performance in his area of administration.

A total of 56 percent of respondents said they were in favor of Parts resigning over decisions made with regard to Eesti Energia, Enterprise Estonia and Estonian Air.

The respective figures for Estonian- and Russian-speakers diverged little: 57 percent and 52 percent.

Of all respondents, 30 percent were completely in favor of resignation, with 26 percent being somewhat in favor. Eight percent said Parts should definitely not resign and 18 percent said they were inclined not to support resignation.

Parts's ministry represented the shareholder in the state-owned Eesti Energia (recently transferred to the Finance Ministry), which has been criticized for pushing through a contract for a large oil shale plant. Enterprise Estonia, the state entrepreneurship agency, has been hit by several charges that it paid out ineligible EU aid. The national carrier, Estonian Air, which is almost completely state-owned, has flip-flopped in its strategy and has been posting huge losses since 2010, requiring rescue aid.

Public Perception of Recent Political Scandals

Parts was also one of two ministers who was involved in increasing quotas for residence permits for non-EU businessmen at a time when several leading members of Parts's party were operating a company that facilitated paperwork for permits. In another Turu-uuringute AS survey finding released today, that affair was identified by the greatest number of respondents (50 percent) as having jeopardized Estonian national security. The results for speakers of Estonian and Russian diverged (only 15 percent of the latter saw it as a security risk).

The second-greatest security risk in the view of respondents was the Center Party's financing scandal and close connections with Russia (47 percent). Third was the Social Democratic Party's financing from circles controlled by railway transit magnate and naturalized citizen Oleg Ossinovski (32 percent), whose son is an MP for the Social Dems.

Silvergate, the scandal where Reform Party members made contributions to party coffers on behalf of anonymous business people, was seen as a concern to state security by 28 percent.      

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