Mr. Mart Laar, former Prime Minister of Estonia, is the latest member of the First Step Forum group. Mr. Laar, a member of the Estonian Parliament, accepted an official invitation yesterday in
First Step Forum is an independent vision driven group of former Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers, Ambassadors, current Members of Parliament and international experts in media, law and investment. For more information please contact Johan Candelin, Executive Director of FSF ([email protected]) (phone: + 358 40 5147611)
Mart Laar (born
Laar was a member of the right-of-center Pro Patria Union, which in 2006 merged with the more technocratic Res Publica Party. In addition to being a politician, Laar has written several books on Estonian and Russian history. He was also a history teacher in
His installment as Prime Minister, by the Riigikogu on 21 October 1992, launched what is perhaps the single most dramatic transformation of a politician (even in purely physical terms) on the Estonian scene: Laar went from bespectacled young Turk with a bookish cachet as a heritage scholar, to a politician's politician, a somewhat senatorial figure -- in the Roman sense -- with appetites to match, and murky dealings that extended far out of Estonia's geopolitical realm. In a 1994 no-confidence vote, parliament removed Laar from office amid opposition accusations of lying to the people, following sale of billions of ruble banknotes collected during the Estonian monetary reform of 1992 to the cash-deprived Chechen Republic of Ichkeria instead of delivering them for free to
Five years later, in 1999, Laar returned to the post, with his main policy goals being to pull the economy out of a slump and lead the country toward the European Union. He remained in the post until he stepped down in 2002.
Many credit Laar for leading
Laar has been involved in assisting and counseling other democratic activists and reformers in the region and beyond, including in
Laar is a member of the International Council of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation.
In 2003, Laar received the Wharton Infosys Business Transformation Award for his contributions to the development of the electronic systems in
After the Rose Revolution in
Laar was the 2006 recipient of the Cato Institute's Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty which is awarded biannually to "an individual who has made a significant contribution to advancing human freedom."
In September 2006, Laar announced that he will come out of political retirement to run for the candidacy for Prime Minister of the new
In January 2007, it was announced that Mart Laar would become a