111 Isamaa members found union to stand against extremism in politics
More than 100 members of the coalition Isamaa party have founded a union called "Parempoolsed" (Right-wingers) with a manifesto titled "The right-wing choice for Estonia" where they promise to stand up for Western values and right-wing opinions but against extremists in Estonian politics.
The manifesto has been signed by 111 people, including Mihhail Lotman, Siim Kiisler, Toomas Tõniste, Tiina Intelmann, Mihkel Kübar, Andres Laisk, Tiit Matsulevits, Agu Laius, Priidu Pärna, Ela Tomson, Kristina Märtin et al. The full list and text of the manifesto in Estonian can be found here.
The members think radicalization in politics both on the right- and left-wing has created a lot of confusion for both voters and countries.
"Traditional Western political values are being questioned: The right to make decisions, the democratic order of the state, free-market economy, etc. The debate over worldviews has been replaced by slogans and confrontation. The classical right is less and less popular and a clear right-wing view has disappeared from everyday politics," their statement says.
According to the union, their mission is to start a debate which will result in the creation of a long term perspective for Estonia.
"Which is the Estonia we want to see in the future? Is it closed, encapsulated, stuck in the past or is it open, well-off, successful, future-oriented - a country with educated people and Western values?"
The union is coordinated by seven people including Riigikogu member Siim Kiisler, member of the Tallinn city council Kaido Kukk and others.
Among other things, the party supports Western values, "smart" managed migration, simple and low taxes, an open economy and pushing forward with innovation and change.
In an interview with ERR (link in Estonian), Toomas Tõniste, a former minister of finance, said the right-wing association established within the party was not created for the purpose of seizing power or against the current leadership.
He said the goal of the union is to create a stronger representation of right-wing values in the future. However, he would not say whether he thought the party had moved away from a right-wing course and towards the center.
Tõniste also would not criticize current chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder.
THE FULL MANIFESTO:
"Right-wing choice for Estonia"
We are standing on the threshold of a new political era. The triumph of democracy, market economy and innovation over the past decades has improved quality of life all over the world. Estonia also did well, we restored our independence and built a modern, Western and wealthy country. Politics in recent years has called into question these values that have benefited Estonia. Our most important choice over the coming years is whether we will be able to continue on the path of freedom and prosperity or not.
For us, the undersigned members of Isamaa, the choice is clear.
Standing up for freedoms
As right-wingers, protection of people's fundamental rights occupies a central place in politics for us. Freedom and state intervention are not mutually exclusive as individual freedom is impossible in the modern world if it is not guaranteed by a state. Estonia needs to make sure individual freedoms are always guaranteed and protected. The modern world has created new risks, while ensuring security cannot happen at the expense of freedoms.
More individual responsibility
More freedom requires one to trust people and private initiative to a greater extent. Being educated, cultured and well-read can expand a person's idea of the relationship between freedom and responsibility and help them make responsible choices for themselves and their community. Educated citizens who are open to new things know hot to take care of their environment and act responsibly when making economic decisions, adapt quickly in a changing world and take Estonia forward. We believe that cost-sharing should grow in healthcare that would foster competition and bring new private investments.
Innovation must not be feared
Estonia's rapid development has been ensured by the entrepreneurial spirit, desire to move forward and courage to experiment of our people. Our success story can continue if we remain open to innovation and keep seeking solutions to modern problems. As right-wingers, we keep an open mind when it comes to new technology and business models that can create new opportunities and jobs. Getting bogged down in the old and looking down on others can only work to cut us off from friends and opportunities and slow down our development.
Open economy to increase prosperity
Any welfare society is based on an open and strong economy. Private property must be protected. Entrepreneurial spirit is a value that needs continued protection. The prosperity of Estonians can only rapidly grow through promoting free competition and internationalization. The task of enterprise is to generate revenue and offer people work. The necessary framework needs to be created by the state. As right-wingers, we are opposed to state intervention in enterprise and state-owned companies dominating free competition.
Simple and low taxes
A tax system needs to be uniform, comprehensible and feasible for entrepreneurs. We need to move from an accounting-style business environment to one that fosters free competition. We are not enamored with so-called euro-enthusiasm and find that Estonia must forge a tax system to match its own circumstances. Closer cooperation between European Union member states is important but must inspire a responsible fiscal policy and lower taxes, not the other way around.
Smart state favors smart migration
It is important to stand up for Estonian singularity and culture. Modern nationalism is based first and foremost on feelings of belonging as opposed to ethnic background. A person can be born an Estonian or become one, but the important thing is to remain one. As a border country, Estonia cannot afford to stand alone. Migration is a natural part of the free world and conservative policy does not stand for denying migration but promoting smart migration and managing it to serve Estonia's economic and security interests. A country that is great in spirit does not battle its own past and people. Everyone already living in Estonia, irrespective of the language they speak at home, must feel Estonia is their home. We need to help them become Estonians for Estonia.
Fewer orders and bans
Every person makes the best choices in terms of their own well-being. Private life, home and family do not need state guidelines – everyone is free to make their own decisions in these matters. We need to stop trying to regulate everything and forcing someone's convictions on society through bans and directives. The opinion of the majority cannot justify treading on the freedoms of others. The state must protect the individual from injustice and ensure minorities' right to a full life.
Estonia must stay true to Western values
During a time when international economy and politics are gravitating toward the East, we must stay true to our inherent Western values. As demonstrated by developments in several European countries, veering off that course might happen more easily and faster than anyone could imagine. As right-wingers, we stand for a strong civil society, honest and transparent public administration, independent institutions and freedom of speech remaining self-explanatory and held in esteem in Estonia. Only then can we ensure stable development of Estonia and our people feeling safe.
Parliamentarism cannot be heedlessly dismantled
Representative democracy shaped after Estonia regained its independence has ensured the country's stable and balanced development – dismantling that tradition would be a mistake. We need to avoid populist attempts to reopen the constitution or introduce legislation through referendums and reinforce the role of representative organs (parliament, local government councils) in running the central governments and its local counterparts. The core choices in politics are ideological in nature and the role of parties significant in a representative democracy. Citizens' willingness to affiliate with parties must not be ridiculed. Otherwise, we would see Estonia become a departmental convenience state that lacks the courage to make major and sometimes unpopular decisions. A transparent and open country is the only way to keep corruption in check.
The rule of law must be accomplishable
Everyone must be able to afford to protect their interests in court, including against the state if necessary. Estonian laws must be valid in every community and any situation. That said, a free society accepts that mistakes get made and defends the right to a second chance of those who make them. Collecting of people's private data by the state needs to be dialed back and protection of said data ensured.
We wish to actively uphold these principles and find likeminded people from among the members of Isamaa and the Estonian public. For that purpose, we have decided to form a union of Isamaa members called Parempoolsed (Right-wingers) and consider ourselves its founding members.
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Editor: Roberta Vaino, Helen Wright, Marcus Turovski