Indrek Kiisler: I feel sorry for Anneli Ott and Eva-Maria Liimets
Political parties that make up the government will be realizing the will of their voters. However, policy should be executed by those who made the promises and not those brought in under the aegis of "fresh air" and "new" ideas, Indrek Kiisler writes.
Imagine that you have picked out a play you want to go and see at the Drama Theater, you buy the tickets and sit down in the theater in anticipation of seeing Mait Malmstein, Guido Kangur and Ülle Kaljuste. You are excited as you are about to witness a performance by brilliant professional actors. And then, three minutes past seven, theater director Rein Oja comes on stage and says that there have been some last minute changes to the cast. As the curtain opens, the theater's hardworking lighting technician and enchanting cafe manager come on instead.
It seems to me that something similar happened with the new government. The Center Party's director, remaining strictly behind the scenes himself, failed to find a single person in his vast company (Center had 14,673 members as of Thursday) fit for the roles of foreign minister and culture minister. And this includes Center's top 25 actors in the Riigikogu so to speak.
When the parties were still negotiating the government, Kaja Kallas told Mailis Reps which portfolios would be coming Center's way. The latter could not believe their eyes upon learning they would be getting the foreign ministry.
Having recovered from the initial shock, Jüri Ratas picked up the phone and started calling diplomats. He did not call Prague straight away and offered the position to better-known ambassadors first. (Eva-Maria Liimets served as ambassador to the Czech Republic before becoming foreign minister – ed.)
Center initially also failed to find a candidate for culture minister among its close to 15,000 members. In the end, the party had no choice but to pull Anneli Ott from the post of public administration minister after it had even considered a famous pop singer.
I feel sorry for both new ministers because they are mere placeholders in the eyes of the people, appointed only after the search for "better" candidates failed. Weighing people for different positions is a natural process and not everyone makes the cut. Someone will always be second, third or further down still. However, how should 25 Center MPs feel about the fact only Tõnis Mölder was entrusted with an executive post?
The message sent by the party's brass is clear: while MPs are important vote magnets for the party, they are unfit for executive office. Center also seems to retain from the time of former chairman Edgar Savisaar a soft spot for artists and entertainers whose political blunders we have been witnessing over many decades.
It would be better for democracy for politicians to be picked most times. We vote for our favorite party at elections in hopes of getting in return an honest political product. We want the people we supported to gain access to power. It is part of the nature of democracy.
In other words, we want to see professional actors instead of last-minute replacements after buying theater tickets. While newcomers might seem fresh and interesting at first glance, the director has cause to be ashamed.
Center is not the only party hard-pressed to find ministers as the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) had an even bigger problem of it in the previous cabinet, despite very likely having over 9,000 members in the near future. The party desperately sought ministerial candidates from among advisers and even phoned people abroad.
That is how [former Minister of Foreign Trade and IT] Kaimar Karu landed in office only to be replaced soon after when it turned out he did not share EKRE's political agenda. And they were right to replace him because politics is pursued based on ideological considerations.
Political parties that make up the government will be realizing the will of their voters. However, policy should be executed by those who made the promises and not those involved under the aegis of "fresh air" and "new" ideas. The latter cannot possibly keep promises made to voters for never having made them. And that is no longer democracy but bad theater we do not want to buy tickets for.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski