Laar's good name takes plunge

  • 2001-03-29
  • BNS
TALLINN - Half of Estonian residents think it fitting that Prime Minister Mart Laar should resign and approve a motion of no-confidence being planned by the opposition. This is the conclusion of an opinion poll taken a month after what has become known as the "target scandal."

According to the poll, which the daily Eesti Paevaleht commissioned from market research company ES Turu-uuringute, 53 percent of respondents endorsed the opposition's plans to launch a motion of censure in the prime minister.

Some 46 percent of those interviewed considered it right that Laar should resign, while 36 percent thought he did right to stay on after the scandal broke early in February.

Among those polled, 44 percent supported the head of the government and 42 percent were against him.

The scandal erupted when it was revealed that a photograph of Centrist leader and a long-time political enemy of Laar's, Edgar Savisaar, was used as target practice on a firing range two years ago. Immediately after the story broke, only 24 percent of poll respondents were for Laar's resignation and 11 percent approved a no-confidence vote.

Juhan Kivirahk, a project manager with the polling company, said the study showed that supporters of the ruling coalition are far from united.

"The supporters of the Pro Patria Union (Laar's party) are for Laar carrying on, but among the supporters of the Moderates there are many who consider it right that Laar should step down and endorse the confidence vote," Kivirahk said.

Among the supporters of other parties in the ruling coalition, of those who back the Moderates, 41 percent were for the prime minister's resignation and 47 percent for a no-confidence motion. The corresponding figures among Reform Party supporters were, respectively, 36 percent and 37 percent.