Riigikogu reverses ban on Election Day political ads

Campaign ads for four parties represented at the Riigikogu, clockwise from top left, Reform, Center, EKRE and Isamaa. Source: ERR

The Riigikogu voted on Wednesday in favor of reversing the ban on outdoor political advertising on Election Day.

A bill initiated by the government will revoke restrictions currently in place on campaigning on Election Day as well as on outdoor political advertising. Political ads will continue to be banned from polling stations.

The explanatory letter accompanying the bill noted that voters should be subject to as equal of conditions as possible during elections, which means that campaign rules should likewise be as uniform as possible during the election period.

The effects of the ban on active campaigning are undermined by the fact that an increasing number of people cast their votes during the early voting period, when campaigning is still permitted. In the March 3 Riigikogu elections, for example, 39.3 percent of voters cast their votes during the early voting period.

The letter of explanation also highlighted that in a situation where election advertising is online to a significant extent, it is difficult and impractical to demand that ads not be published on Election Day.

The amended law will enter into effect in accordance with general procedure, or on the tenth day following is publishing in the state gazette Riigi Teataja.

In timing the entering into effect of the amended law, the need to do so as soon as possible was taken into account, allowing for changes to voting-related legislation to be passed well before elections.

Contracts for political advertising are concluded well ahead of the elections themselves.

The next elections scheduled to take place in Estonia are the local government elections in 2021.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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