In comments to the media, Defense Minister and IRL Chairman Urmas Reinsalu rejected the Estonian president's accusation of political populism.
In his Independence Day speech, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves scolded political parties for populist policies, specifically naming the 2011 land tax exemption and recent antitrust laws.
"There is no need to spend time on petty popularity-seeking laws that in the end recall meaningless activities. Laws abolishing the land tax for homes and curbing monopolies are not the kind of things that bring us closer to important decisions," Ilves said.
Reinsalu told uudised.err.ee that politics must inevitably deal with solving mundane practical problems.
"Dealing with utilities issues may seem boring, but it affects a lot of people's lives. It is important that a change has a real result," Reinsalu said.
Reducing housing costs was in fact one of IRL's chief campaign pledges of the 2011 parliamentary elections.
He said the monopoly-curbing reform under attack, regarding the District Heating Act, ensures that heating rates correspond with the input price. A transition to local heating is favorable, he said, because it enables cheaper heating rates for consumers. Furthermore, he said, the reform requires companies to save energy, thereby ruling out the possibility that the consumer pays for a company's inefficiencies.
Reinsalu said the land tax exemption has also helped a lot of people, used by 360,000 individuals and saving them 17.7 million euros.
Reinsalu Rejects Populism Accusations