Opmann drops out of central bank race, Estonians react

  • 2000-06-01
TALLINN - Mart Opmann withdrew his candidacy for president of Estonia's central bank on May 29 amidst political opposition to his appointment.

"Knowing in what way [the legal chancellor] will decide on the legal dispute that has emerged, I regarded it as advisable to retreat," Opmann said at a press conference, according to BNS. "I'm not ready to go to court."

The council of Eesti Pank elected the former finance minister to the post last week, but President Lennart Meri refused to endorse Opmann's candidacy, thus sparking a debate on who should head the central bank.

Reporter Kairi Kurm asked residents what they think of the situation and how it affects Estonia's image abroad.

Daniel Vaarik, adviser to the Ministry of Finance:

The Bank and its council clearly are experiencing very turbulent times. We do hope that a positive solution will follow as soon as possible. It is not possible for government departments to participate in the bank's decision-making process, so it is difficult to issue specific comments on the council's performance.

We are not sure if it does any harm to Estonia's reputation in general, as it is not very high profile news for the general public. At the same time, it most definitely harms the Bank's reputation in the smaller circle of central bankers around the world. With the currency board system, the bank's president does not significally influence the machinery that keeps the currency rate, so it should not influence the kroon's stability.

Julia, mother and homemaker:

It is a serious problem. They have not decided for the whole month. It affects the image of Estonia a little bit. I would suggest they solve the problem as fast as possible and find a worthy president on top, who will make the bank more successful. I can not suggest any candidate for the position, because one needs to know people personally in order to give one's opinion.

Kristiina, a 23 year old girl in a photo shop, who does not want to have her picture in the paper:

It affects the decisions made by foreign investors. The Bank of Estonia does not look loyal. They can not find a competent person who would like to take that responsibility. You can not let just anyone into that position.

Lvov, student of the music academy:

The more misunderstandings we have in the financial sector, the more it affects the image of Estonia. This sector needs some stability, I guess. The bank should find that new director. I do not know any good candidates, because I am not interested in these things.

Rainer, specialist from the factory inspection:

It is not good that a public institution is not capable of finding a president. It will damage Estonia's image abroad to some extent. I think that a new Parliament and a new government should be elected. We should begin again from there. The only candidate I liked (Vensel) refused to work in the bank.