Since 2009, NENO has called for political parties to follow Good Election Practices. This year the effort takes on new dimensions as electoral practices are followed and commented on by experts through the elections portal of Estonian Public Broadcasting.
Good Election Practices call for parties to finance their campaign transparently, for candidates to refrain from abusing public positions and for everyone to focus on substantive debates instead of fearmongering, personal attacks and simplistic interpretations.
Experts from NENO and elsewhere monitor the use of Good Election Practices in reality and comment on uses and abuses on the elections portal of Estonian Public Broadcasting. Unsurprisingly, with one week still to go until Election Day, the page is filled with minor and major abuses of Good Election Practices.
Some examples include:
Most parties have refused to indicate the cost of their campaign promises, making it difficult for voters to assess the potential consequences of fulfilling them.
Fearmongering, personal attacks and avoiding substantive debate: The Reform Party and The Center Party are the main culprits here. On the one hand, the Reform Party was singled out for demonizing the Center Party in TV ads and political statements along the lines of “we will under no circumstances work with Savisaar [chairman of the Center Party and Mayor of Tallinn –Ed.]”, as well as reproducing negative stereotypes associated with minorities.
Conversely, the Center Party was criticized for using public funds and municipal buildings for campaigning and demonizing the governing coalition in TV ads.
Both the Social Democratic Party and the Res Publica and Pro Patria Union were criticized for making promises in local municipalities that were not under the purview of the Parliament.