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New political group outside mainstream parties publishes manifesto

Kristina Kallas, talking to ERR about the group's manifesto.
Kristina Kallas, talking to ERR about the group's manifesto. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

They don't know whether or not they'll eventually form a new party, but they want to challenge the political establishments with a platform based on tackling problems rather than bickering over ideologies: Five personalities from different walks of life have published the Eesti 200 manifesto.

Estonia has lately seen a multitude of demands, statements, and manifestos issued by different groups. The latest calls for a brand of politics that tries to solve problems rather than running the risk of getting entrenched along ideological conflict lines.

The group consists of IT bellwether Nortal's founder Priit Alamäe, director of the University of Tartu's Narva college Kristina Kallas, LHV Bank's corporate banking director Indrek Nuume, director of the children's fund of the Tartu University Clinic Küllike Saar, and director of the University of Tartu's Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies Kristiina Tõnisson.

Main points of Eesti 200's manifesto

The group calls for a thorough renewal of Estonia's digital services and the e-state. It wants to make the state's digital channels the main means by which citizens communicate with government authorities and institutions.

Concerning the way the republic is run at the moment, the group wants to see more government action based on reform instead of a system focused entirely on the state's ministries and institutions. To this end, it suggests the creation of limited-term ministerial posts that would then be tasked with solving specific problems.

In terms of the economy, the group wants to reduce regulations and the amount of red tape businesses currently have to put up with. The Estonian business environment has to be changed to the effect that it attracts "ambitious companies" that want to do business through Estonia, and as they do so add value locally as well.

To achieve this, Estonia needs to develop the entrepreneurial environment as well as its education system, legal system, and infrastructure. "We need to connect Estonia by investing in internal connections and smart public transport, and create new external connections to better connect Estonia to the world," the manifesto reads.

The group also wants to reward individuals for what it calls "taking charge of their own health" by adapting the health insurance system in such a way that a healthier lifestyle can be rewarded. The current system based on treatment and insurance should be replaced by one that instead focuses on a healthy lifestyle and a health fund, the group finds.

The manifesto also states that the time has come to create a single school model for all of Estonia, under which Estonian speakers as well as Russian speakers and also students with other languages study together. The group also wants to better connect general education with vocational and higher education.

In terms of Estonia's nature, the group is in favor of the sustainable use of natural resources, basing local agriculture on a model that would "strengthen the ecological balance" and support biodiversity as well as take better care of the country's forests.

Group's angle resembles IRL precursor Res Publica

The phenomenon of such a manifesto and an at least allegedly apolitical approach to solving the country's problems isn't new. Res Publica, one of the precursors of today's Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL), was founded in 2001 with a similar objective, namely to do away with political bickering and instead to focus on solving problems.

The party won the 2003 elections and formed a government with the Reform Party under Prime Minister Juhan Parts. The coalition broke up in 2005, Res Publica and Pro Patria joined forces in 2006, became IRL, and have since very much been a mainstream political party.

Whether or not Eesti 200 will eventually become a political party isn't clear yet.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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