The Estonia 200 political movement decided to become a political party and take part in the upcoming parliamentary elections with a full list at a general meeting on Saturday.
"Estonia 200 is a party that brings together specialists in their respective fields and people not satisfied with only short-term political promises, but who wish to realize long-term decisions. We are not tied down by the constraints of political technology and the burden of the past. We are brave enough to speak about big changes because we believe that there is a great number of people in Estonia who want to and are able to understand that Estonia needs them badly," Priit Alamäe, one of the founders of the party, said in a press release.
According to the party, the objective of Estonia 200 is to promote life in Estonia and plan long-term policies that would ensure the preservation of the Estonian language and culture, economic prosperity and a secure and high-quality living environment for the people of Estonia. The party's activity will be based on the following values: personal freedoms, ambition, transparency, responsibility, trust, openness, innovation and Estonian-mindedness. As of formation, the party has 543 members.
Estonia 200 published its manifesto in May this year. Its council decided in August that the nonprofit will set its sights on becoming a party and taking part in the March 2019 general elections.
Meelis Niinepuu, head of Estonia 200’s program committee, said that the state cannot be surrendered to professional politicians running for parliament for the third or fourth time.
"The state of Estonia is the joint responsibility of all citizens and the parliament is the first wall of defense against stupid decisions. In order to realize changes important for Estonia, people must participate in politics like in the 1990s. We cannot surrender our country to professional politicians who are running for parliament for the third or fourth time in a row," Niinepuu said.
This stance also makes up the core of the party's program titled "Winds of Change" which also formulates the party's principal values and views. Over the next few weeks, the party will also draw up a program for next year's parliamentary elections.
The program defines the party as one of change and lists significant themes like the state reform, abolishing inequality in education and the reform of healthcare services and social services.
"Estonia's future success depends on the ability to respond to important trends when they are first observed, not retrospectively. Our economy must be made smarter, our people healthier and happier, our natural environment cleaner. Estonia 200 is currently the only party that is prepared to assume a long-term view when shaping the future of Estonia. All the rest are dealing with the next four years and that is extremely short-sighted," Niinepuu said.
Members of Estonia 200 elected social scientist Kristina Kallas as chairman of the party.
"I thank all contributors and party members for this extremely great trust. Those who have lent us advice and strength over these past months as well as those who have believed in us," Kallas was quoted by party spokespeople as saying.
According to Kallas, the wish of Estonia 200 to bring fresh ideas to politics resonated with many people and that it is now time to go and ask for a mandate for these ideas from voters.
"Our freshly formed party needs the help of each member in order to introduce our plan to voters, and now, all that is left is hard work ahead of us," the party chair said.
Those elected to the board of Estonia 200 include Priit Alamäe, Kadri Haller-Kikkatalo, Pirko Konsa, Margarita Kallo, Lauri Luht, Nikita Lumijõe, Meelis Niinepuu, Liina Normet, Igor Taro, Margus Tsahkna, Kristiina Tõnnisson and Tiit Elenurm.
The party's freshly elected audit committee includes Marko Nummers, Indrek Nuume and Piret-Ireen Raidmets.