Party membership: IRL loses 221, EKRE gains 175 in the first half of 2017 ({{commentsTotal}})

Of the parties in the Riigikogu, only the Center Party and EKRE managed to gain members in the first half of 2017.
Of the parties in the Riigikogu, only the Center Party and EKRE managed to gain members in the first half of 2017. Source: (Siim Lõvi /ERR)

Of the parties in the Riigikogu the Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) has gained the most members since the beginning of the year. With its ratings continuously in the doldrums, IRL has lost the most, including two MPs.

The Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) had 9,215 members at the end of 2016. Since then, 221 have quit the party, leaving it with 8,994 members. The net number of people leaving the party is even higher, considering that they have also had a few new members.

Of those who quit the party, former defense minister Margus Tsahkna, MP Marko Mihkelson, businessman Priit Alamäe, and chairwoman of the Estonian Food Industry Association Sirje Potisepp are the most well-known.

EKRE has gained the most members. Where the party had 8,100 members at the end of 2016, it now has 8,275, having gained 175. Among them have been former politicians of other parties as well, including out of the Social Democrats.

Estonia’s biggest party in terms of members, the Center Party, has gained 156 new members since the beginning of the year and now has 14,828. The Reform Party lost 82 members in the first half of the year, now at 12,364.

The Social Democrats have lost 61 members and are now at 5,953. The Free Party at 657 members has lost 28 since December.

The Estonian parties have to submit annual reports for the preceding year by June 30 that also include membership numbers. At the same time, as not-for-profits they are also entered in the commercial register, where their member numbers at any given time are listed as well. The numbers above refer to the annual reports for 2016 as well as the commercial register as of July 4.

Editor: Dario Cavegn