Free Party chair wants election threshold lowered to 3%

Free Party chairman Kaul Nurm at the party's general meeting.
Free Party chairman Kaul Nurm at the party's general meeting. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Kaul Nurm, the newly-elected chairman of the opposition Free Party, has called for lowering the election threshold in Riigikogu elections from the current 5% to 3% of the vote.

"In successful small European countries there are often 8-11 parties in parliament and the election turnout is 70-80%, which is something that Estonia should be striving toward as well," Nurm said during a debate on Wednesday. "This will ensure that a sufficiently big portion of society takes part in putting the problems of society into words and solving them."

Nurm said that allowing electoral alliances in Riigikogu elections and lowering the election threshold to 3% would facilitate the competition of political platforms and ideas, a spokesperson for the Free Party said.

According to Nurm, the once political elite of Estonia has become a nomenklatura and a governing class of officials-politicians.

"That class has surrounded itself with high protective tariffs so that no one could jeopardise their position," he said, adding taht society and the political debate will not gain from the Greens or some other small political party not winning seats in the Riigikogu.

"While it could be more difficult to govern with a bigger number of parties, the quality of governance will be the better, the more tiers of society are represented in the Riigikogu," the Free Party chairman said. "The nomenklatura that is suffering from a lack of ideas will meanwhile feel tempted to invent tasks for itself and also to build various 'pension pillars' for itself at the taxpayer's expense. As a result, Estonia has become a nanny state which does not trust the individual and will try and regulate life up to the point where this becomes ridiculous."

Nurm participated in a debate at the Apollo book store in Tallinn's Solaris Shopping Centre on Wednesday which also included politicians from the Estonian Greens, the Biodiversity Party and Estonia 200.

According to a poll conducted by Kantar Emor in October, the rating of the Free Party has dropped from 3.4% in September to 1.8% this month. The party that won eight seats in the 101-seat Riigikogu in the previous elections has seen its rating fail to make the 5% election threshold in polls since May. One of its MPs, Artur Talvik, left the Free Party parliamentary group to establish a new political movement by the name of Biodiversity Party.

The Free Party elected Nurm its chairman at the end of September.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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