The aim of the Charter 12 petition may have been to oust the current political elite, but the 16 proposals ulimately handed over by the President on Tuesday transfer the criticism to inside the current political set-up, says Andreas Kaju, an outspoken PR firm executive and former government adviser.
“This may be a challenge to the Charter initiators, how will they react – will they accept that the anti-system criticism was converted into criticism inside the system, that the system itself is able to fix [...]” Kaju said, speaking on ETV on Tuesday.
Kaju said that the proposals voted for by the assembly serve the viability of the current political system.
He said that in Estonia every small political scandal leads to great public outcry, while in France, for example, where the last few prime ministers or presidents have faced corruption charges, society has learned to deal with this kind of criticism.
“Of course there are problems, but we have institutions to conduct proceedings on the issues and in the end a solution to satisfy all parties will be found, the state will not fall apart and life goes on,” said Kaju.
He added that the biggest problem is the lack of capacity for political parties to clean house and reinvent themselves and that the four parties in Parliament feel too comfortable, confident that, whatever happens, they will still be elected.
Kaju said that he agrees with the proposals to lower the election threshold, which can lead to at least a threat that newcomers may be elected, forcing the four parties (Reform Party, Center Party, Social Democrats and IRL) to make greater effort.
The Charter 12 is a declaration signed by 17 public figures last November calling for broad changes in Estonian political culture, after ex-Reform Party MP Silver Meikar admitted to funneling funds from questionable donations – a practice that has been attributed to most major parties.
The wave of criticism later led to the President initiating the People's Assembly, a citizen's parliament that collected proposals from the public, debated the proposals and, last Saturday voted on ideas that the President submitted to Parliament.