The fortunes of the two Western expatriates running in Tallinn's municipal election ended up being as different as they could be yesterday, with UK citizen Abdul Turay (Social Democrat) outperforming several well-known politicians and Joeri Wiersma of the Netherlands (independent) receiving only 32 votes.
Turay pulled in an impressive 516 votes, the second highest result among Social Democrat candidates running in the City Center district. Within that group, he was behind only mayoral hopeful Andres Anvelt, a result that, in theory, could put Turay in line for a seat on the city council.
Among the Social Democrat candidates, Turay had the eighth-highest vote total in Tallinn as a whole and the party is likely to get eight seats. However, in the case of Tallinn, seats are awarded separately for each of the eight districts. Vote totals are not the only means used to determine which candidate gets a seat in these local elections.
"I was pleasantly surprised. I did better than a lot of well known people," Turay told ERR News on Monday.
He was, however, circumspect about his win.
"Let's get things in perspective. There wasn't a groundswell of support for me. A lot of it is about celebrity status. I understand that I have a niche status. I'm never going to get as many votes as Savisaar," he said.
Commenting on the relatively poor showing for his party overall, Turay said he believed that Social Democrats had made strategic errors in their campaign
"I think that the election slogan was wrong. 'Today Tallinn, tomorrow Toompea' - it's what we want, not what we're going to give you." He added that the campaign should have focused more on attacking the Center Party rather than on competing with Reform.
Wiersma, who ran in the same district as a representative of his European Whistleblowers Party, said that the low number of votes he received came as a surprise.
"My first impression was that it was a little bit low. I was imagining and expecting a little bit more," he said. "But of course the campaign was concentrated on [only] a few persons," he continued, expressing disappointment about how difficult it was to stir up the Estonian media's interest in lesser-known candidates.
He said that though he did not meet his first goal, to win a seat on the city council, he had achieved his second, which was to draw attention to the Whistleblowers Party and its aims.
Wiersma also said that the experience of campaigning in Tallinn was something of an "exercise" that would help him learn what to expect in the run-up to next year's European Parliament elections, where he plans to run as an independent candidate representing Estonia.