Sociologists: Parliament Must Listen to People's Assembly

laine uudised-laine
8. Apr 2013

Academics have called on politicians to honor the results of the People's Assembly vote on Saturday.

On Saturday, over 300 randomly chosen people gathered to vote on initiatives, collected in January, with delegates supporting simplifying the election process to allow smaller parties into Parliament and increased monitoring of party finances, among other topics.

Marju Lauristin, a professor and former politician who was one of 17 signers of the Charter 12 petition, told ETV on Saturday that she believes the election threshold will be lowered for the next parliamentary elections (in 2015) as the political parties can not ignore the assembly's proposals.

“Right now, public debate is going on and everyone can see what the assembly has favored. No party is so ignorant as to show contempt towards these motions so shortly before local elections [October 20, 2013],” said Lauristin, who was part of the nation's first post-Soviet era elected government.

“The Social Democrats and IRL are somewhat rejuvenated, but the two other parties and their leaders have remained the same,” Lauristin said, adding that the four parties, the two mentioned and the Reform Party and the Center Party, have an monopoly on politics.

Sociologist Juhan Kivirähk said that smart politicians are taking notes, adding, “Parliament must not only listen to the assembly, but to all people.”

Kivirähk said that he was most surprised at the rejection of the direct presidential elections idea, adding that the "against" vote showed that the subject was thoroughly debated first.

All eyes on the President

With President Toomas Hendrik Ilves set to present the 16 supported proposals to Parliament on Tuesday, MEP Indrek Tarand said that the future of the assembly's voice depends on how the President presents them.

“[…] if MPs hear that the proposals are here to stay, unlike a nightmare that you can wake from; if political managers get the threatening sense that the era of deceitful politics and of dirty money and Swiss bank accounts must come to an end… Then I would be optimistic that things will improve,” said Tarand.

Tarand added that if the President's message is that the ball is now in the court of politicians, signaling relief that he does not have to deal with the problem again, then the intellectual climate of the country will regress.