President and army among most trustworthy

  • 2001-07-26
  • TBT staff
TALLINN - The president, border guards and the defense forces are the most trustworthy institutions in Estonia, according to a survey by the research company ES Turu-uuringute AS.

The government has the lowest rating with 55 percent of the population mistrusting the work of Prime Minister Mart Laar and his Cabinet. Laar's rating has not changed a great deal since January 2001.

Three-quarters of the Estonian population trust President Lennart Meri, 70 percent trust the border guards, and 64 percent trust the defense forces.

Of those believing in the defense forces, 73 percent were ethnic Estonians and 45 percent were non-Estonians.

In case of attack by a foreign power, more than 80 percent of the men interviewed in the age group 20-59 said they would step in to defend Estonia in accordance with their abilities and skills, while 13 percent of ethnic Estonians and 18 percent of non-Estonians said they would try to flee the country to save their lives.

The survey showed that the defense forces occupy fourth position, after the president, border guards and the Church, with 58 percent of those polled saying they trusted them.

Statistics show that the defense forces have gradually gained more trust from Estonian residents since 1995, when only 43 percent of the population supported the army.

The press and the Parliament also suffer from low ratings, with 41 and 36 percent of supporters, respectively.

Not only do people not trust the government, neither do distinguished MPs. Ignar Fjuk, an MP of the Reform Party, heavily criticized Toivo Jurgenson, the minister of transport and communication, and Mihkel Parnoja, the economic affairs minister in connection with the recent privatization of Estonian Railway, accusing them of a lack of political responsibility in a story published in the newspaper Postimees on July 23.

Also the police was mistrusted by a higher percentage of residents than trusted, respectively 45 percent and 48 percent in June.