At its today’s sitting, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) discussed the draft report that deals with electoral intervention and the planned counter-measures and proposals for combating against it.
The compiler of the report, Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Keit Pentus-Rosimannus described foreign intervention in elections as a direct attack against the right of the citizens to freely elect their representatives and decide the future path of their countries.
“Foreign influencing of elections and interference with the shaping of preferences has become a weapon that is used to create mistrust in the governance of a specific country, to discredit democratic system of government, to create a general atmosphere of distrust, to escalate internal tensions, to enhance gaps,” Pentus-Rosimannus said.
“Next year, there will be two elections in Estonia and, being aware of the attacks against the elections in other countries, it would be dangerous to assume that Estonia is the only country in Europe where there will be no attempts of intervention in elections,” Pentus-Rosimannus added. In her opinion, it would be wise to take this threat seriously and be prepared for combating against it.
Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee believes that Estonia is technologically well-prepared to defend the electronic voting system, but intervention does not necessarily mean that somebody will try to change the election results physically or electronically.
“Intervention in elections may also take place through information operations, fake awareness campaigns, discrediting campaigns against specific persons, stealing of sensitive electronic information or private electronic discussions between politicians and leaking that material later,” Pentus-Rosimannus pointed out the techniques that had been earlier used in several countries of the European Union.
The Committee also discussed the proposal of organising international cooperation on the issue because the pattern of attacks is similar in all countries. Therefore, it was found that it was necessary to have a cooperation and information network for exchanging the practices against pre-election information laundering, and for harmonisation of regulations.
The Foreign Affairs Committee’s report on combating intervention in elections will be completed next year.
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