Estonian parliamentary elections (2)
Archived Articles 30 Mar 2007 Estonian Central Council in CanadaEWR
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Seen through non-Estonian eyes

Criticism was expected. Russia’s permanent representative at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Aleksei Borodavkin accused the OSCE of a double standard for not sending a full mission to monitor the Estonian elections.

In contrast to the implications of the Russian accusation the Moldavian elections commission assistant director Renata Lapti and the director of the Belarus Helsinki Committee (a human rights monitoring group) Aleh Hulak commented: “No irregularities have been noticed. The elections are democratic. Nothing indicates otherwise.” He added: “Nobody was arrested and the police weren’t seen”, (this in reference to factions in power attempting to influence the vote illegally). More than 70 foreign observers were monitoring the vote.

Rossiiskaja Gazeta, in commenting on why the Russian parties failed to place any candidates in the Estonian parliament: the Russian parties suffered from internal bickering, failure to forge a unified front, lack of an economic and social platform. The paper added that the ethnic-Russian parties were marginal Lilliputians on the Estonian political landscape.

(It must be noted that early in the election campaign, in 2006, some prominent politicians in Russia urged ethnic Russian voters in Estonia not to bother with the local Russian parties, but rather to support Edgar Savisaar’s Centre Party. Observers of the elections claim that this scenario was in general followed.)

Local Russian language newspaper Molodjozhj Estonii, by inferring that the younger generation is comfortable with computer technology, blamed the internet for the Centre Party’s failure to win the elections.

Vesti dnja wondered why Tatjana Muravjova managed to gain a parliamentary seat through the Reform Party after the Russian language media did everything to spoil her efforts. (She was a candidate for the wrong party.) The same paper states that “ultra-Russian” politicians helped “ultra-Estonians” win. The clandestine services, which control most of the media, weakened the unity of the leftists.

Mainly Ethnic Russian Estonian Constitution Party leader Andrei Zarenkov, in MK Estonija blames the relative success of the mainly Estonian Centre Party (their total of parliamentary seats compared to the shutout of Russian parties) on the financial support of prominent Russians in Russia - the Minister of Transportation, chairman of the Russian treasury and speaker of the Duma – all members of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party. Ethnic Russian parties in Estonia consequently faired poorly. The Constitution Party managed to get only 5,470 votes in total.

In a different tone most of the western European media turned their attention to Estonia’s pioneer role in internet-voting, asking why one of the European Union’s smallest countries leads much richer and larger Member States in IT development. (Some Canadian media inquired at the Consulate General in Toronto, not about the polling station situated in Estonian House, but about the significance of Estonia being the first to implement internet voting.)

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