Riigikogu committee to draw up report on interference in Western elections

Voting in the 2017 local elections in Estonia.
Voting in the 2017 local elections in Estonia. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu has decided to compile a report addressing attacks that have taken place in recent years against the democratic elections of Western countries and the defence capabilities of the countries that have fended off these attacks.

According to Keit Pentus-Rosimannus (Reform), rapporteur and deputy chairperson of the committee, attempts at interfering in elections have been multilayered and increasingly more arrogant, and weapons used in the process ranged from information operations to cyberattacks, spokespeople for the Riigikogu said.

"In light of the upcoming elections, we must be ready in Estonia as well to spot potential interference, and the experiences of other countries can be of great help," Pentus-Rosimannus said, referring to the Riigikogu and European Parliament elections to take place next spring. "The goal of external attacks is clear in most cases — to discredit the democratic form of government, to create rifts, and to sow instability and trust in society and tensions within and between Western countries."

It is first necessary, however, to detect and identify interference. To that end, the committee will draw up a report that will discuss prior cases of interference in Western elections as well as describe the methods, techniques and channels used in the process.

The report will aim to provide an overview of solutions for countering election interference, the legislative basis necessary for doing so, and the role and functions of various state authorities.

In connection with drawing up the report, the committee intends to organise several parliamentary hearings and meetings with representatives from other countries. Earlier this week, for example, Pentus-Rosimannus participated in a roundtable with US Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) that focused on methods used in various countries against Kremlin interference in elections.

The Foreign Affairs Committee intends to complete the report by the end of this year.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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