Mikser Optimistic on People's Assembly, Less So on Parliament's Response ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

The People's Assembly will be held on Saturday at the Song Festival Grounds
The People's Assembly will be held on Saturday at the Song Festival Grounds Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Sven Mikser, chairman of the Social Democrats, said that preliminary discussions in the People's Assembly have been serious and professional, but he said he is doubtful that Parliament will introduce the proposals into law.

This Saturday, 500 representatives of the Estonian public are set to debate and vote on the proposals that emerged from the People's Assembly, an online crowdsourcing initiative. The most popular proposals, mainly regarding laws on the electoral system and political parties, will on Tuesday be presented to Parliament by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who started the initiative back in November.

Mikser, who's party is in opposition, told uudised.err.ee today that similar proposals have been initiated in Parliament in recent weeks, apparently to appease the public.

“In reality, the important questions, such as decreasing the influence money has over political decision-making and opening the doors to more political parties, have seen little positive initiative,” said Mikser.

Mikser said the Estonian Parliament is the right place to filter out the unreasonable and impossible, but that there is a general expectation that laws regarding financing of political parties and election campaigns should be made more transparent.

Coalition member remains skeptical

Jaanus Tamkivi, who lead's the Reform Party faction in Parliament, said that MP's are ready to discuss the assembly's proposals, adding that some of the ideas are probably "from the realm of fairy tales."

“In the political sense, it will cause tensions, as [October's municipal] elections are drawing ever nearer,” said Tamkivi. One or two parties, he said, will try to show the public that they are going along with the assembly's ideas, but, he warned, parties should first consider if the proposals are even possible.

Tamkivi said examples of impractical proposals included major tax cuts and dipping into the nation's financial reserves.

As for Saturday, Tamkivi said he will adopt a wait-and-see approach.

Assembly delegates are hopeful

One member of the People's Assembly, Üllar Läänesaar, told ERR radio that he is hoping for a tangible outcome and that the initiative will result in bringing the public closer to political decision-making.

Another member, Aime Indrekans from Rapla County, said she is rooting for a smaller Parliament and changes to party financing and electoral laws. “When I vote, I will give my voice directly to a person, not to a political party,” she said.

The 500 delegates were selected by the event's organizers to proportionally represent all groups in Estonian society.

The debate on the proposals will take place on Saturday at the Glass Hall of the Song Festival Grounds in Tallinn.

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