SDE and Eesti 200 form Viljandi alliance ahead of local elections

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Viljandi Town Hall. Source: Google Maps

The Social Democratic Party (SDE) and Eesti 200 have made an electoral pact to run on a joint list in the South Estonian town of Viljandi, at October's local elections.

SDE MP Helmen Kütt is reportedly the list's number one candidate on the alliance, dubbed "Südamega Viljandis" ("With heart in Viljandi").

Meanwhile, Juhan-Mart Salumäe, school teacher and SDE councilor in Viljandi, wrote that he had joined the group with pleasure, and would be running for the third time at the October 17 election.

At the last local elections in 2017, while SDE polled highest in Viljandi, it found itself in opposition with the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), while Reform, Isamaa and Center formed a coalition at Viljandi town hall.

Eesti 200 was only formed in 2018, and will be contesting its third ever election come fall.

Most local municipalities are governed by coalitions – one notable exception being Tallinn, where the Center Party rules on its own – while Estonia's modified d'Hondt system of proportional representation requires parties run ordered lists of candidates.

In practice, parties put the candidates most likely to attract most votes at the top of the list, with any "spare" votes once the candidate has reached a sufficient number to clinch a seat being passed down to the next candidate(s) on the same list. In this way, candidates who only received a few hundred votes in their own right can sometimes find themselves winning a seat.

There is nothing barring Riigikogu MPs from holding local council seats concurrently, either, and many do.

The "Südamega Viljandis"/SDE/Eesti 200 lineup says that it hopes the Estonian Green Party will also join it.

The alliance says that it stands for developing Viljandi, Estonia's sixth-largest town, with a population of around 17,500, making it a human-friendly urban space for all, as well as both a green city, and one which is educated and open to entrepreneurship, while at the same time no single or careerist politician would be able to dominate.

Viljandi mayor is Madis Timpson (Reform).

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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