The saga of IRL candidates Viktoria Ladõnskaja and Sven Sester has taken another twist as a second recount again found a different number of votes, this time to Ladõnskaja's advantage, meaning she will take the lone IRL seat in that district.
Tallinn election committee recounted over 3,000 votes today, ending up with 1,393 for Ladõnskaja, the same number as in the previous count, and 1,392 for Sester, two fewer than at the last recount a week ago. All the spoiled votes in the district were also recounted.
The committee initially refused Ladõnskaja a recount, having already counted the votes twice, but that decision was overruled by the National Electoral Committee.
Sester told Delfi he will not appeal the decision, "Viktoria is a new and genuine find for Estonian politics whose ideas merit attention today and in the future," he said, adding that the case shows that each vote does count. Sester is likely to become an MP anyway as he is the first replacement MP on IRL's national list.
The initial count, released on the day of the election, put Ladõnskaja ahead of Sester by one vote, 1,395 against 1,394. A recount on March 2 ruled two ballot papers spoiled, putting Sester ahead by one vote. Sester would have been elected in case of a deadlock as he is higher on the party's national list.
Following the final recount, Ladõnskaja told journalists the whole affair has given her a lot of food for thought. People must be taught how to vote properly, she said, adding that the way the ballot papers were re-evaluated today shows how much room is left for interpretation on the part of the election committee.
A total of seven decisions were reversed during today's recount.
"Two papers had the number of the candidate written on the reverse, not inside the box, but the will of the voter was clear nevertheless. Only half an impression of the second stamp was visible on one paper but that did not make it wrong, so it too was declared valid. One vote for Sven Sester lacked the second stamp altogether. In three cases it was a question of interpretation: in one, it was determined the voter had made corrections, not someone else at a latter time, and then there were two where the numbers were written over or corrected, including one for Sven Sester, which was declared invalid," said Toomas Sepp, chairman of the Tallinn election committee.
Editor: J.M. Laats, M. Oll