Prime minister rejects party's present

  • 2000-11-30
  • Andrei Titov
TALLINN - Two weeks ago Prime Minister Mart Laar, in answer to MP Mai Treial's request, said 500 kroons ($27) a month is enough for one person to get his daily bread.

"It is hard but possible," he explained.

This statement received a loud resonance of public and press opinions. A day later Laar declared his words were incorrectly interpreted. He said his speech was based on statistics department data. According to the department's research, the poorest Estonian families spend 109 kroons a month on living quarters and 346 kroons a month on food.

Last week Laar received an answer to his words. A big basket of food costing 346 kroons was presented to his press secretary at his residence. It was organized by the Estonian Center Party and their young colleagues from the Estonian Center Youth Assembly.

"Laar should be responsible for his words. If he really thinks someone can live normally on 346 kroons a month, he can try it himself. We gave him such an opportunity," said Center Party member Max Kaur.

"Laar has many advisers and assistants to help him select his expressions more accurately," he added.

The basket contained one kilogram each of potatoes, cabbage and beets, a pack of butter, six eggs, half a kilo each of cheese and sausages, an onion, canned fish and meat goods, white bread, one liter of milk, some oil and a huge pig's head.

The head of the Estonian Center Youth Assembly, Taavi Sillaste, said all the goods are of Estonian origin, since they are cheaper.

"To tell the truth, the present cost more than 346 kroons. The basket we bought was 150 kroons, but we wanted our present to look nice," said Sillaste.

According to Center Party members' words, Laar promised to come to the meeting, but he did not. Instead, the head of the Parliament's press bureau Kaarel Tarand came, but he refused to comment.

"I don't know what the prime minister is going to do with this basket of food. And I don't think it is such a great event as to discuss it with the public," he said.

It is not the first original present made by Center Party. This summer they gave a strait-jacket to MP Indrek Tarand after he interrupted a speech by Center Party leader Edgar Savisaar in Parliament. Despite expectations, Indrek Tarand took the present with great pleasure and tried it at once.