The People's Assembly, a website championed by the Estonian president that is collecting ideas to fix controversial laws, mainly on the electoral system and political parties, has begun the process of finding 500 people to debate and decide on proposals for reforms.
The initiative spent the month of January gathering proposals. In February analysts will filter through the most critical of them, followed by debates by the chosen 500 in March. The final goal is to present them for review to Parliament.
Urmo Kübar, the director of the Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations, told Postimees that he would prefer that the 500 are chosen from all over Estonia – representing different ages, nationalities and social backgrounds.
He said this solution would require a large budget, in order to hire a research company, rent rooms, and provide transport and catering for 500 people.
An alternative would be to select people from those who have added proposals or comments on the website, in addition to various experts, such as NGOs, academics, political parties and the media.
As of Monday afternoon, the site had received 356 proposals for reforming electoral laws, 145 regarding party financing, 113 connected to participation in politics, 82 on internal democracy in political parties and 42 on the politicization of public offices. Another 386 proposals were categorized as miscellaneous.
The idea for the website was proposed by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves last November during a meeting he called with decision makers in light of widespread criticism of the government.