Savisaar and Kaja Kallas to Lead Parties at European Elections (1)
Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar, who chairs the Center Party, has been named to lead his faction at the May 25 European Parliament elections, while Kaja Kallas is expected to be confirmed as the top candidate of the Reform Party.
Each party may name up to a dozen candidates, and Kallas, who's father is the Estonian EU Commissioner, will be joined by Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, Finance Minister Jürgen Ligi, Culture Minister Urve Tiidus, MPs Igor Gräzin, Laine Randjärv, Rait Maruste, Aivar Sõerd, Margus Hanson, Urmas Klaas and Arto Aas, and MEP Vilja Savisaar-Toomast. The list has been approved by the party's leadership and is expected to be ratified by the Reform Party's congress on Sunday.
The Center Party has already finalized its list of candidates, with MPs Jüri Ratas, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Kadri Simson, Enn Eesmaa, Priit Toobal, Aivar Riisalu, Mailis Reps, Ester Tuiksoo and Yana Toom, Tartu councilman Aadu Must and poltical newcomer Kerstin-Oudekki Loone.
The main difference in voting procedures compared to the previous EP elections in 2009 is that citizens may cast their votes for party candidates, not just a party. The candidate with the highest number of votes in the party is elected if that party gathers enough votes.
Candidates can abstain after the election. In that case, the person with the second largest number of votes in that party will win the seat.
It is unlikely any of the Reform Party ministers or Savisaar would swap Tallinn for Brussels.
Estonia will have six seats in the European Parliament, the same number as now.