Phone raffle births new party

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Samsung.

PHOTO: Jung Yeon-Je / AFP / Scanpix

A look at the business register revels that a new party called Will of the People was registered in Tartu County yesterday the founding campaign of which was based on a smartphone raffle.

While little is known about the new party’s founders, it has an operational website from September 9 this year. The party was founded by Tartu residents Madis and Eha Sütt who are busy trying to launch online television channel Entusiast TV.

“We got around 500 members. Yes, they all know they are members of the party,” Madis Sütt said. He added that plans for the future are unclear as everything has happened so quickly. Sütt was not sure whether they will take part in the 2019 Riigikogu elections. “We’ll take it one step at a time,” he said.

How did the party manage to get 500 members in only a short time? Sütt said they pursued an active campaign. One part of that campaign was raffling smartphones between new members.

An ad was circulated on social media in September where a young woman urged people to join a new party. “Hey, friends! Join a new party. All registered members have a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy!” the Instagram video declared.

How many phones were raffled in the name of getting enough people to form a party? “Four or five. And it’s completely normal. To make light, we can say that if our party is called Will of the People, the will of the people was to get smartphones,” Sütt explained.

How many people joined just to win a phone? “Difficult to say. I would be lying if I told you no one did,” he said. Sütt added that all parties have been handing out jars of honey, scarves and pens.

The party promises to introduce popular initiative, reduce felling volumes in Estonian forests and convert the Tallinn-Tartu highway to have four lanes inside five years. Will of the People also promises not to hike Estonians’ tax burden. A founding member of the party described its ideology as friendly-conservative.

“We are not saying we should leave Europe, but we need limitations. The concept of marriage needs to be reaffirmed and Russian-speaking children need to be taught in Estonian. The will of the people is clearly against the UN migration compact.”

Deputy chair of the Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) Martin Helme had not heard of the new party’s founding by yesterday noon.

“My friendly recommendation to voters is that it pays to look at actions rather than words in politics. Anyone can say pretty much everything about themselves, but I would first need to see who these people are and what they have done in the past. It is difficult for me to say anything further as I have no idea,” he said.

The news now puts the number of parties created in 2018 at three. Political initiative Estonia 200 registered as a party a few weeks ago, while the Biodiversity Party has also vowed to take part in the March elections.

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