The Free Party, Center Party and the Conservative People’s Party were named having the most populist campaign promises in a study led by Praxis Center for Policy Research and drawing on input from 135 experts.
The “devil’s dozen” of the top examples:
1. We don’t need dictatorship! We need a country that we all lead. We have a simple call: let’s take back our country! Free Party
2. We will raise the minimum wage to 1,000 euros. Center Party
3. The electricity market must be reorganised so that Estonia would have Europe’s cheapest power. Conservative People’s Party
4. We will implement a national citizen’s wage that ensures everyone a sense of participation and security. This would be in addition to pensions and the parent’s wage It wold replace the completely insufficient child allowance and substance allowance that takes a long time to apply for and is time-consuming and an affront to dignity. Greens
5. We say no to international treaties that do not take into account our people’s and nation’s interests – and the signatures must be withdrawn from the concessionary border treaty with Russia. Conservative People’s Party
6. We will do all we can for the last linguistic remnants of the occupation to disappear from our land. We will gather up and donate to museums the remaining street signs that are in two alphabets. Reform Party
7. We will restore people’s faith in their country. It is an immense resource that is also expressed in the additional tax revenue. We will contribute to greater security. Free Party
8. We will push through an extraordinary rise in pensions. We will restore the purchasing power of pensions. We will free the average old-age pension from income tax. Center Party
9. We will lower the normal work week from 40 hours to 32 hours a week without lowering salary levels, thus creating preconditions for ensuring working capacity for many years to come. Greens
10. We will halt land sales to foreigners and impose a real estate tax on them. Conservative People’s Party
11. We vow that if we get into the Parliament, we will give to charity half of the state budget funding allocated to our party. Greens
12. We will end wasteful politicking where money is squandered on self-admiration and -promotion, with money taken from all of our pockets, the state budget. We will end the overfeeding of parties! Free Party
13. We will work toward helping Russia to shed its historical expansionistic shackles and turn toward domestic modernization that will improve the well-being of its citizens and the country’s reputation. IRL
The process: a group of 20 experts pored through 250 pages of election platform text, ending up with 35 populistic pledges and slogans. Then 112 opinion leaders and experts rated them on a scale of 0-7. The Estonian version of the full study is here.
The experts were more or less unanimous as to the top 10 most populist pledges, said Andres Reiljan, member of the steering group of the initiative.
He defined populism as being harmful to transparency and substantiveness of democratic discourse. Examples include sowing oppositions, ovesimplifying issues and making promises that can’t be backed by action, he said.