Ratas: Parties should not advertise on public's dime ({{commentsTotal}})

The Estonian Supervisory Committee on Party Financing (ERJK) convened this week to investigate whether certain publications in Estonia could be regarded as illegal campaign donations. February 2018.
The Estonian Supervisory Committee on Party Financing (ERJK) convened this week to investigate whether certain publications in Estonia could be regarded as illegal campaign donations. February 2018. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

According to Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, chairman of the coalition Center Party, public money should not be used to advertise political parties, and such cases should be investigated if necessary.

According to Ratas, the use of public funds must be based on what a local municipality needs, not how a party wants to advertise itself.

"Such things should definitely not be done using public funds, and if someone finds that it should be investigated, then it must be investigated," Ratas told BNS on Friday when asked to comment of Thursday's decision of the Estonian Supervisory Committee on Party Financing (ERJK) to continue investigating city media writing about the Center Party, which is in power in Tallinn.

The ERJK found on Thursday that several articles about Center Party members published in city media constituted a breach of the Political Parties Act and therefore decided to launch a legal and financial analysis.

"I think that there are very strong institutions in Estonia that can check party financing," Ratas said.

According to the prime minister, the Center Party has changed its behavior a great deal in the past year and 3-4 months since the party's November 2016 congress, where the party elected a new board. He noted that the party has taken concrete steps to improve itself as well as to end various court disputes.

Tallinn mayor Taavi Aas, a member of the Center Party, said on Friday that he wants ERJK chairman Ardo Ojasalu to be removed from his post, finding it unacceptable that Ojasalu would threaten to send people to prison before the results of the committee's work were revealed.

Referring to an upcoming analysis of Tallinn's media outlets, Ojasalu told BNS on Thursday that this was basically the same case as that of former Central Tallinn district elder Alar Nääme, who was found guilty of using public funds for his election campaign.

"A legal analysis with a financial analysis will be conducted now, and then it will become clear whether Taavi Aas will be put behind bars now or whether he can walk freely for some time," he said.

Editor: Aili Vahtla



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