Isamaa chairman recommends regulating political foundations in Estonia

Helir-Valdor Seeder.
Helir-Valdor Seeder. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The parliament could mull regulating the activities of organizations that are not registered as political parties but still affect politics, outgoing Isamaa party head Helir-Valdor Seeder said.

"Various foundations – talking about SALK (Liberal Citizen Foundation) or SAPTK (Foundation for the Protection of Family and Tradition) – do affect politics. At the same time, they are not subject to the same rules as political parties, whether in terms of their financing or other activities. There is food for thought in terms of how politics is played in Estonia," Helir-Valdor Seeder said on the "Esimene stuudio" talk show on Wednesday.

Commenting on an Eesti Ekspress article (link in Estonian) from Wednesday on how SALK influenced politics by helping the Reform Party, Eesti 200 and the Social Democratic Party (SDE) to find elections success, Seeder suggested it definitely had an effect.

"They have been an influence. They've said it themselves – I'm not talking just about the Eesti Ekspress article – they said before elections that they're coordinating the activities of liberal parties and their funding," the Isamaa leader said. "And this is where the parliament should pause for a moment because party funding is subject to very strict rules in Estonia."

"This particular piece of fiction (refers to the Eesti Ekspress article – ed.) might not be fully accurate, while, as it suggests, we who are active on the political stage perceive there is some sort of cooperation. And if three parties pursue strategic cooperation, with their headquarters and brain trust outside of those parties, which the Ekspress article clearly points to, I think it gives the legislator something to think about," Seeder suggested.

The Isamaa leader emphasized that his party would never pursue such outside cooperation. "I maintain that Isamaa is willing to work with all parliamentary parties. However, I cannot imagine pursuing such strategic cooperation with EKRE or the Center Party. We are working and acting independently. Only after elections, when we have received a mandate from the voter, are we willing to work with other parliamentary parties based on the lines of force."

Seeder accuses Kallas of sporting a negative attitude going in

The opposition party leader also said that elections winner, Reform Party head Kaja Kallas has had a negative disposition towards the opposition from day one.

"The concert pitch for this [Riigikogu] composition's unculturedness was provided by the PM in her very first speech when she appeared in front of the parliament seeking powers to form the government. The opposition had not said anything, there was no filibustering, the president had just delivered his speech – and then the PM takes to the podium and tells the opposition that we should not blame the mirror for our crooked faces. That concert pitch and provocative tone the PM treated the parliament to provided the atmosphere to come," Seeder said. "I have been a member of several Riigikogu compositions, while no elections winner has created the kind of atmosphere Kaja Kallas did this time in the past."

Seeder suggested that parties should not have ruled out working with competitors before elections.

"Everyone given a mandate at democratic elections deserve to be consulted and included in talks. I would have invited all parties to negotiations in Kaja Kallas' shoes," he said.

Opposition needs to be involved to overcame [Riigikogu] impasse

Talking about how to solve the current parliamentary deadlock, the Isamaa leader suggested the coalition should provide more time for deliberation, involving target groups, for the opposition to have a say and for it to be heeded.

He listed a series of Isamaa's proposals, adding that the coalition hasn't even found the time to respond.

Seeder also said that to his knowledge Isamaa members Parvel Pruunsild and Priit Humal are honest men and that his knowledge of suspicions brought against them by the ISS is limited to what has been published in the press.

The Internal Security Service (ISS) suspects Tartu Deputy Mayor Priit Humal of violating procedural restrictions on a grand scale and businessman Parvel Pruunsild of aiding and abetting.

He said that the prosecution has gone after Tartu deputy mayors in the past, while nothing has stuck so far.

Regarding his decision not to run for Isamaa chairman at the party's upcoming elections, Seeder said that because two out of the three candidates (Urmas Reinsalu and Tõnis Lukas) for the post have also headed up Isamaa in the past, he too can return some day.

He listed Estonia's pension reform, switch to teaching in Estonian and restoring peace in Isamaa as his achievements. "Separatism in the party has been put to bed, peace restored, with free speech still intact. I decided it is time to pass the torch, which is not say I will be leaving politics," he remarked.

Seeder refused to name a favorite candidate out of the three vying for the position of Isamaa leader (Lea Danilson-Järg is the third – ed.).


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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