EMSL, a network of Estonian NGOs, has released a list of the top unethical methods used this week in the run-up to the local elections.
The panel, which included sociologist Juhan Kivirähk, political scientist Mari-Liis Jakobson and Toomas Mattson from the National Audit Office, assessed the methods on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the worst violators.
5th place: Candidates without programs or contact numbers – 2.7 points
Despite the elections being only 16 days away, many parties, election coalitions and individual candidates have yet to publish their election programs. The most notable is the Center Party, which has not released its plans for Tallinn. Many candidates have not even listed contact details.
4th place: Haapsalu Center Party member calling his opponents enemies of the people – 2.9 points
Haapsalu City Council Chairman and Center Party candidate Jaanus Karilaid, 36, sent his constituents a letter in which he calls all those who run for office under IRL or the Reform Party, or who vote for them, enemies of the people.
3rd place: Website smearing Eerik-Niiles Kross – 3.1 points
Kross' own website bashing current Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar has featured previously on the list, but now the tables have turned. According to the panel, the website www.auspoliitik.com (translated as 'an honest politician'), has gone a step further, for example using a picture of Jew to illustrate greed.
2nd place: More municipality ads featuring candidates – 3.6 points
In the fresh copy of the official, taxpayer-funded newspaper of Saue city, near Tallinn, eight pages out of 12 feature candidates from IRL and a fellow incumbent, a local election union named “People You Can Rely On,” including three pictures where the mayor, Henn Põlluaas, is holding a baby.
1st place: Candidates running against their will – 4.2 points
Businessman Aivar Toots, leading an election union in the Saue municipality, not to be confused with Saue city, told Eesti Päevaleht on Thursday that he wanted to submit a long list of candidates at the elections in the hopes of drawing more votes. For that he proceeded to ask random people in a park for their signature to run for office. The election coalition rejected a number of Toots' candidate-hopefuls, as registration forms lacked surnames or personal identification codes. Three people on the list, including the nation's oldest candidate at 93 years of age, claim they did not agree to run.