One man, 25% of the vote

Article published on April 1, 2011
Article published on April 1, 2011
By Alice Préat, translated by Lucija Barbarić A candidate in the European elections who borrows money from his mother to finance his campaign, and ends up just below the most influential political party in the country; this is not an every day occurrence.
Indrek Tarand, Estonian deputy in the European Parliament, obtained more than a quarter of the total votes in his country even though he wasn't supported by any other political party and had no more than 2 000 euro at his disposal.

This forty-year old former secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Estonia wanted to distance himself from other political parties: this wasn't an accident. "Certain non-democratic parties decided to change the rules by limiting the rights of the voters. The voters weren't supposed to be able to vote for a single candidate, but just for a political party. Six months after my victory, they decided to reactivate the old system."

The pride is evident on his face, and he self-confidently begins to explain that more than one independent candidate emerged for the following election due to his accomplishment. "The lead story of an Estonian newspaper named this: tarandisation" he says with a modest smile on his face.

This is the first time that such a thing happened in Estonia. When a candidate wins a seat in the parliament, it is generally the case that their percentage doesn't exceed 2%. "Fortunately, because of what I did, I really needed to step inside the arena. I was under the impression of being surrounded by a bunch of executioners." His face still marked by traces of skepticism. The fact that citizens massively voted for an independent candidate is significant; the diversification is essential. "I like the independent candidates because they make democracy more colorful."

Afterward, the deputy found his place in the European Parliament, where he follows in the footsteps of his father, Andres Tarand without imitating him entirely. Tarand's father was deputy until 2004, in the Socialist party. His son joined The Greens (the Greens/ European free Alliance). He laughed while retelling the story of the conservative reformists (ECR) and the Greens who found themselves with the same number of deputies, and one true manhunt started. To stay firm to his points of view, he decided to join the Greens. That gave him more freedom and opportunity to express opinions that differ from the mainstream.

Even though he isn't completely following in the footsteps of his father, it doesn't matter to his dad. "My father understood perfectly why I didn't want to join the Socialists, even though he suggested that I join a big group." One long list of politicians in my family? He shows a photo of his daughter: "She's no more than five, but she's going to be a European deputy as well!"

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