Karli Lambot: The statement prepared for pre-election political debate organized by Foreign Chambers in Estonia in Meriton Conference & Spa Hotel on September 25, 2013

karli lambot

The statement by Karli Lambot prepared for pre-election political debate organized by Foreign Chambers in Estonia in Meriton Conference & Spa Hotel on September 25, 2013

Key Programme Pillars for the Municipality Elections by Election Union of Vaba Tallinna Kodanik (Free Citizens of Tallinn)

There is a large number of people in Estonia who are disappointed with Estonian political parties. According to surveys they make up to 40% of the electorate. The underlying reasons are different, but the cartel established by the parties represented in Estonian Parliament is recognized as one of the reasons.
From economic perspective the negative impact of monopolies and cartels on business and free society is well known. Especially if there is no regulating agency, which can set limits to actions of monopolies and cartels.

Currently the cartel trend can be observed in European politics as well. Unfortunately, recent surveys show that the political cartel in Estonia is one of the strongest among European countries. The parties represented in Parliament have established a cartel in the beginning of the century. Since then the four parties decide each year which amount from the state budget is allocated for their needs, right now this is nearly six million Euros per year, and others get just peanuts.

Politics today is just about money – money available for political campaigns and hiring employees for the party. The effect of the cartel is highly exclusive political system in Estonia. The four Parliament parties divide all the power and resources of the country among themselves.

This is utterly unfair. It is common knowledge that cartels are unfair in economy, and they are even less fair in the political life of a country. The only purpose of a cartel is to bypass the competitors.
The above summarizes the main reasons behind the establishment of our Election Union Vaba Tallinna Kodanik. We strongly disapprove that local municipalities should be governed just by the four Estonian Parliament parties. We disagree that local municipalities should be governed according to the left or right scale as done by political parties.

On the contrary, local people and local communities must have the right to manage their lives in the cities and counties. It is not a political issue to maintain streets, to organize waste recycling or to build schools and kindergartens. It is primarily professional pragmatism and problem-solving, and should be handled by professionals and local communities.

The consequence of the political cartel rule in Estonia is that Tallinn and most of other cities are governed purely politically. Cartels go hand in hand with closed systems and corruption. The evidence is not hard to find – at least 100 persons from Central Party who have got well-paid jobs in Tallinn City Government. Few of these people have experience, education or skills required for this type of job.

What will happen if Central Party loses its absolute majority in elections and other parties will establish a coalition? The answer is that no big changes will occur. People from other parties will get good jobs that they are hunting for. People loyal to the political party, with no appropriate experience, education and skills will be put into positions of city district directors as well as other equally high positions.

This situation is unacceptable. Tallinn as a local municipality needs pragmatism and professionalism in the management. Tallinn does not need party soldiers in City Government who have no competencies for those jobs. This only objective of such persons is a position and further political career. If new parties will lead Tallinn there will be no principal changes in city governance. Mismanagement and corruption will continue.

I studied finance and banking at Tartu University and I have worked in German banks and Bundeskartellamt. For the last 22 years I have been an entrepreneur, a co-owner of logistics companies with operations in four countries and just about to open a company in the next country.

The reason I tell you this – I can imagine how hard a job it is to lead a city government with the payroll close to 2000 employees. This is not an easy task. What does a middle -level politician know about road maintenance or optimization of public transport network? Nothing!

Therefore one of the key pillars of our election program is that Tallinn has to be governed by professional managers and city directors. Politics should not be extended beyond the City Council. The power in the city has to go back into the hands of the City Council as this the task of the City Council to determine the vision and strategy for the development of the city.
City Council has to recruit City Directors for the City Government in an open competition as is the best practice for any big organization. The City Directors must be experienced professionals. It will be the task of the professional City Directors to clean up all the political and corruptive mess that spreads like cancer in Tallinn City Government.

If Tallinn is governed professionally and pragmatically, our old, beautiful and dynamic city could really start to flourish. And attract investments that are very much needed for this promising future.

Karli Lambot
Chairperson of Election Union Vaba Tallinna Kodanik