SDE complains Center Tallinn vaccination drive constitutes electioneering

Raimond Kaljulaid (SDE).
Raimond Kaljulaid (SDE). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) has petitioned the party financing watchdog authority over what it calls a misuse of Tallinn City Government funds in a pre-election vaccination drive. The local elections take place on October 17.

SDE councilor and MP Raimond Kaljulaid said that: "In recent days, I have spoken to several Tallinn residents about invitations sent to people by mail on behalf of Tallinn district elders, to go get vaccinated."

"On the one hand, the spreading of vaccination information by the city is a very welcome contribution to the fight against the pandemic. However, it is questionable whether the addresses sent to the people of Tallinn immediately before the elections have to be forwarded by and on behalf of city politicians who will likely be running in the same electoral district," he went on.

SDE, who are in opposition at the Tallinn city council chambers, submitted the complaint to the Supervisory Committee on Party Financing (ERJK) Thursday.

Kaljulaid said the tactic had been used earlier on, in spring, when free face-masks were distributed to local residents in Tallinn, while the SDE statement referenced 40,000 bio-waste containers recently being ordered for free use by residents.

"This distribution of things free of charge to the people of Tallinn just before the elections with the city's money is reminiscent of several previous cases of the Center Party, which have also been processed by the ERJK," the statement read, according to BNS.

A previous electoral regulation which forbade outdoor pre-election campaigning for a six-week period immediately before polling day led to most political parties being scrutinized for stealth advertising; since the rule did not include social media, it had increasingly become somewhat of a lame duck and has now been struck off.

The only place election campaign placards are now barred is at polling stations.

Center rules alone, all other parties are in opposition, in Tallinn.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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