Estonian president criticises local government practices, calls for administrative reform

During his opening speech at the ‘Day of Rural Municipalities and Cities’ in Tallinn, Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves has criticised practices of local governments and expressed his worries about the fact that administrative reform does not seem to be a priority of parties.

President Ilves especially criticised that heads of local governments sometimes used public funds to finance parties’ electoral campaigns and demanded from them to ‘set a moral example’. On the other hand, Ilves also underlined that Estonia’s positive development in the past two decades was mainly due to a well-functioning and transparent governing structure.

He expressed his worries about a lack of interest in administrative reform from the side of political parties. According to Ilves, the quality of public services still varies greatly from region to region which is unacceptable. Furthermore, many people felt disappointed that the few discussions about administrative reform had led to no improvement and that their concerns were not be taken into account.

As parliamentary elections are taking place next month, Ilves’ speech can be seen as an attempt to point voters into the direction of the Social democrats and the Reform party. Both parties have announced to back president Ilves reelection in the forthcoming presidential elections in August this year. As the Estonian president is elected indirectly by parliament, Ilves needs a majority in the assembly to be able to serve a second term.

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