There were two main challenges in the context of the European Parliament elections in Estonia in 2009. One of them was the election system, that did not give people the possibility to decide who to vote for (so-called “closed lists”) – the parties’ leaders comfortably deciding themselves. Furthermore, this is related to an even larger – and still existing – problem.
People in Estonia are too often forced into party membership. They are left with no other choice when they wish to do business in certain areas, build a house, expand their company’s market share, have job at a ministry, etc. I decided I want to contribute to finding a solution, instead of whining about the situation. Moreover, I thought my contribution would make a rather good one, as there is currently only 1 politician from Estonia who happens to have more experience in foreign affairs matters than my 17 years and that is my colleague in the EP, Mr Tunne Kelam. As an independent candidate, I offered the people a little diversity in this context during the last elections and it seemed to resonate with quite a few people.
I have been interested in politics ever since I was little, but I haven’t joined any party. Being in the party during the Soviet occupation was out of the question for understandable reasons. After Estonia had restored its independence, I thought it would be more suitable for a free country to have an apolitical civil service. Even later, when I was the advisor to the Prime Minister and chancellor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it was unthinkable that the civil service could belong to a party. I still believe that top officials without party membership are much better than bureaucrats with a party membership.
I acknowledge different ways of thinking, hobbies etc, because they enrich society on the whole. However I cannot say that I could belong to any of the two parties in Estonia that call themselves liberal on a European level because in my opinion they are not. In some things I am rather conservative, maybe even a bit nostalgic. This would however relate only to the Republic of Estonia before World War II. But unlike our conservatives, I am able to interact with the Russians – I can present my thought to them in an understandable way and sometimes even earn their respect. I don’t worship money, though it’s natural that it motivates people rather often. Should I have more money left over, I would prefer it to be given for those in need. Therefore I may say that I also have a social-democratic part in me.