Savisaar accused of vote buying

  • 2002-08-29
  • Baltic News Service

Center-right leaders have accused Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar of trying to buy pensioner votes by taking money away from school children.

"We remember how some 50 million kroons (3.19 million euros) were taken away from school repair funds about half a year ago. Children indeed cannot vote," said Res Publica party memberTonis Palts, a former Tallinn mayor.

Savisaar's Center Party said Aug. 26 it plans to hand out 500 kroons to every pensioner if his party wins at municipal elections around the country in October.

The promise was met with scorn by competing parties, who said the money would have to be taken from education.

"If it were possible to pay more to pensioners, no one would be against it, but let the Center Party show at whose expense it will be done," said Aimar Altosaar, chairman of the Tallinn chapter of Pro Patria Union.

"To publicly advertise buying of votes this way is a lowbrow move indeed," added Villu Reiljan, leader of the opposition People's Union. He said pensioners were in need of a policy that wouldn't bestow gifts on them ahead of elections only.

"In the longer term, one-off dispersing of cash serves the interests of the giver only. Because of the ugly impression alone that it's being done because of elections, it should not be done," said Jurgen Ligi, chairman of the Reform Party, the Center Party's coalition.