A misplaced man

Nils Niitra
, reporter
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Photo: Jarek Jõepera

Over the phone, Aare Heinvee (Reform Party) comes across as a man a bit miserable after finding himself in a wrong place.  

I was looking at the Riigikogu members’ activeness statistics. Excluding the fact you have been a most diligent deputy to attend sessions, in all the other aspects you are firmly among top passive five. Why’s that?

(Silence, and a sigh.) Yes ... One can’t quite answer that in a couple of sentences. I guess there are the reasons.

But as you very diligently keep attending the sessions – among the best attendees, sharing the second place – then how is it possible that while doing that you are among the least active voters, the least active speakers and such as to make remarks? Also, you’re among the deputies with the least amount of bills initiated. As a voter, I’m asking what are you doing at Riigikogu?

(A sigh, again.) Yes ... that’s a right thing to ask of course, but I think that one being active in that big hall may not always maybe show the essence of the work. The essence may be more committee based, perhaps, topics based.

The work at the committees is very important, no doubt, and one can always say that the work is happening at committees. A journalist has no way to check how active a person is at committee (while the activeness at the committee is somewhat shown by bills initiated and proceeded). But it does also play a role what people do at the Riigikogu sessions and your indicators do tell a story. As mayor of Rapla and county elder, you work was generally judged to be good. Meanwhile, I hear you just don’t like the work at Riigikogu.

(A sigh, again.) Yes, that’s basically correct, and why it is that way... I guess I am not the type to want to stand out. Within the Riigikogu itself, in the faction, everywhere there’s competition. Everyone wants to be the first and I guess in such circumstances I perhaps do not want to be the one to pull out ahead too much. In my opinion it’s not a natural competition that positions are taken by force.

But why then don’t you leave Riigikogu once you feel it’s not the right place for you?

Honestly, I have very seriously considered that but by now it probably doesn’t make sense anymore.

Are you running at the spring elections?

No. Neither did I run at the local elections.

Planning to leave politics altogether?

Well in politics everyone has his methods, his output. And maybe a certain style the politics are pursued does not fit everyone.

Once you get registered at the session, what do you do then? Do you simply leave the Riigikogu for the rest of the day?

I think here I’m no different than the others, because the big Riigikogu hall is a place where stuff is just formalised and where people perhaps show themselves off. The essential issues have been settled long before. It’s just not possible for all Riigikogu members to be with all the bills, thoroughly and essentially. Everyone dedicates himself to certain topics that he deems of interest to himself, and necessary. And they deal with those.

Has the faction found fault with you due to the overmuch passivity?

They actually have.

So you do often get registered at the session and then leave the building at Toompea, to do other things?

Look here you are mistaken. I’m relatively long at the building at Toompea and quite at night. But I’m in my room and I work there. The fact that I’m not in the hall does not mean I’m not in the building. I like to work there and I deal with very many topics.

What is your agenda at Riigikogu, what are the topics close to your heart?

Firstly those that I myself thought would be my strengths. In my own eyes I have proven to know these topics – that’s local government, rural life. I think I’m relatively at home also in the field of education and social affairs, which does directly relate to local governments.

But you see I did not go run for the Riigikogu with some specific agenda. Rather, it was the voters passing an assessment on my work as local government leader [up to then].

You got over a thousand votes at Riigikogu elections, which is not a bad result at all. It’s a pity, after all – the people did support you. If you’d run now, what do you think, would you get the same tally of votes?

Well I do believe that if one wants to run, one must have the former work to substantiate it. One must prove one is worthy of it. I definitely do not favour the approach that one kick into a campaign two months before elections. As you probably know, I have never done a campaign like that... as a true politician should perhaps.

Turns out, probably it wasn’t possible for me to proceed with things close to my heart in Riigikogu, in our faction. Whether we go by stands taken in [party] programme, the coalition agreement or whatever – apparently my topics weren’t acceptable. That does not mean I did not try to deal with them. I could have started to write some kinds of articles, all by myself – I actually did consider that – but that would probably have yielded no results.