President's rating falls due to secrecy

  • 2000-08-31
TALLINN (BNS) - Sociologist Juhan Kivirahk said President Lennart Meri's popularity has been eaten away by his participation in day-to-day politics and reluctance to explain his decisions to the public.

"Meri's rating remained high when he could stand by and reproach quarreling politicians," Kivirahk wrote in the daily Eesti Paevaleht. "But now he has to take part in day-to-day politics and make decisions the implementation of which depends on politicians' readiness to cooperate."

Kivirahk, a sociologist from market research company ES Turu-uuringute AS, said that the people would like to see the president call the feuding camps to order and conciliate them.

"But I would also expect from him frank explanations about why one or another decision was made or what it has got stuck on. Unfortunately, the president has the fault characteristic of politicians in general - unwillingness to give information to the public," Kivirahk said.

But, Kivirahk said, it is certainly not easy for the president to make political decisions concerning the appointment of people to important posts in a situation where there is simply no political cooperation and there are no candidates to satisfy opposing parties.

According to the results of a recent Emor poll, it appears that Meri's fall in ratings coincided with the trouble he ran into trying to find a suitable candidate for presidency of the Bank of Estonia.

During the summer, Meri has also attracted public attention with his problematic discharge of Lt. Gen. Johannes Kert, the public censure of the NRG deal, criticism made at the address of the Canadian government at the ESTO Estonian World Festival, the inability to find a new person to fill the post of justice chancellor and the closure of the coastline next to his property.

Kivirahk added that supporters of the Center Party were already angry at Meri since he failed to offer Edgar Savisaar the prime minister's seat.