Eesti in brief - 2005-10-19

  • 2005-10-19
A member of the Reform Party faction lodged a protest with the Tallinn election commission. The MP demanded that the Kristiine borough vote results be cancelled and that a new vote be held. Igor Grazin used a Supreme Court ruling that bans MPs from sitting on local councils to explain his demand, as well as pointing to the controversial curd-snack advertisement that closely resembled the Center Party logo. The ruling, announced by the Supreme Court two days before the Oct. 16 election but after the end of advance voting, distorted the election situation.

Men dominate among members of local government councils, while women will comprise less than one-third of new deputies. The Oct. 16 polls filled a total of 3,111 seats on the councils of rural and town municipalities, statistics of the central election commission show. Among them will be 2,191 men, or 70.43 percent of the total, and 920 women, or 29.57 percent of all deputies.

Security Police have identified an individual who sold hundreds of fake residence permits, passports, language proficiency certificates and other documents, as well as the actual forgers. The case was based on information that important documents, including Estonian passports, can be bought for a payoff to Citizenship and Migration Board officials and members of the state examination and qualification center. "At the start of the proceedings, a legitimate suspicion arose that large numbers of officials at those institutions were corrupt," a prosecutor with the North regional prosecutor's office, Natalia Miilvee, was quoted as saying. In the course of the investigation, it was established that only a few officials had misused their position. "Clever crooks have, in cooperation with forgers, learned to take advantage of the weak points of regulations on applying for and getting documents," the prosecutor said. "Such swindles have led the general public to believe that officials can be bought, one only has to find the right middleman and a solid sum."

A demonstration took place in front of the Estonian consulate in Pskov, against what protesters called a revival of fascism in the Baltic states. Spokespeople for the Estonian Foreign Ministry said the rally was unsanctioned, as both local authorities and the Russian Foreign Ministry denied having been informed about it. Some 30 people took part in the demonstration, which was held under security patrol, along with journalists and a camera team. Andrei Lukin, coordinator with the movement First Frontier, told the Russian news agency Interfax that the demonstration was sparked by the unveiling, for the second time, of a controversial monument to Estonian soldiers in World War II. The memorial was removed from the western town of Lihula last fall at the government's demand.