The Baltic Times, TALLINN
By Kairi Kurm
Oct 26, 2005
Official confirmation of the Tallinn municipal poll has been postponed due to MP Igor Grazin’s legal protest, putting off a decision on who will become the capital’s new mayor.
Grazin (above), who had been a candidate for the City Council as a member of the Reform Party, originally wanted results from the Kristiine borough cancelled, but the National Electoral Committee refused his request.
Specifically, the Reformist said a new law enforced by the Supreme Court in between the pre-election and voting period had been unconstitutional. The legislation forbid members of Parliament to hold seats in both the national and municipal legislatures simultaneously.
Although several MPs participated in the elections to garner votes for their parties, few of them were actually planning to leave Parliament to work in local councils.
Grazin’s other complaint is related to a billboard dairy-product advertisement, which resembled the Center Party’s logo. Outdoor political advertisements were banned before the elections.
“There was a violation in the separation of powers with judiciary intrusion into the legislative branch. During the casting of ballots, which lasted for a whole week, the Supreme Court threw doubt on the legitimacy of some candidates’ registration,” said Grazin.
By the time legislation changed, 150,000 people – or 25 percent of the voters – had cast their ballots, knowing it was okay to “sit on two seats,” he said.
“Another minor and rather comical issue is that, although there was a ban on visual propaganda in the streets, one party managed to present its political logo as that of a dairy product. On one side this is a serious violation, on the other there is a humorous aspect to it,” the reformist said.
Grazin told The Baltic Times that he did not take the advertisement too seriously, and it even made him laugh when he saw it for the first time.
In fact, he used the ad as a technical tool to get through court doors. He said that he could not go up against the Supreme Court with its own legislative policy, so he had to complain about the electoral committee’s decision instead since it permitted the outdoor billboard.
Peep Lillemagi, spokesman for the Reform Party, said that the party had not taken a stand in this matter, and that Grazin’s actions were a citizen’s initiative. “The Reform Party is interested in legitimate electoral results,” said Lillemagi.
If the Central Electoral Committee refuses to satisfy Grazin’s complaint, he may appeal to the Supreme Court.
Endorsement of the electoral results will then have to be prolonged until the Supreme Court has made its final decision.
Meanwhile, the Tallinn Electoral Committee refused to satisfy Grazin’s grievance on Oct. 20. The committee announced that there was no legal basis on which to cancel the electoral results in Kristiine and hold a re-vote.
After the electoral results’ final endorsement, Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Edgar Savisaar will announce whether or not he will accept the post of mayor of Tallinn. He is head of the Center Party, which won 32 seats out of 63 in the City Council (See story this Page).
According to Toomas Raag, spokesman for the Center Party, none of the scenarios can be ruled out. Although no formal negotiations had taken place, he said, politicians were, indeed, holding informal meetings and exchanging ideas.
Tallinn will be ruled by the current coalition of the Center Party and Res Publica until the electoral results have been approved and the city council’s new membership can start to work, Raag said.
Reformist Prime Minister Andrus Ansip has asked Savisaar to keep his post as minister. Ansip explained on national TV that he would like more party leaders to hold important ministerial positions, since it enables them to work more efficiently