Poll places Mart Laar most influential prime minister of past 30 years

Mart Laar served as prime minister from 1992-1994 and again from 1999-2002.
Mart Laar served as prime minister from 1992-1994 and again from 1999-2002. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Mart Laar has been chosen most influential Estonian prime minister of the past 30 years by the listeners of ERR radio station Vikerraadio. Laar also topped all bar one of five sub-categories, including political innovation and economic development.

Estonia has seen 11 prime ministers since the restoration of independence, whose 30th anniversary takes place this Friday.

The Vikerraadio poll opened on August 9 and ran to August 18, ending up with close to 13,000 votes (out of over 51,000) for Laar, prime minister 1992-1994 and 1999-2002.

Laar was closely followed by Andrus Ansip, prime minister 2005-2014. Edgar Savisaar, appointed the Estonian SSR's last Chairman of the Council of Ministers in April 1990, a position which segued into the prime minister's post once independence was restored, was in third place.

While voting for current and recent prime ministers is more likely to be influenced by ongoing events, including those seen as negative, for the record, current prime minister Kaja Kallas placed ninth, her predecessor, Jüri Ratas, fifth, just slightly ahead of Kallas' father, Siim, who was prime minister 2002-2003.

Prime ministers were evaluated in terms of five factors: Economic development, external security, political reforms, confidence of the populace and overall sense of security, with Laar topping all of these – with Ansip as runner-up – except for the last category, in which Ansip did indeed finish first, with Laar in third place and Ratas between them.

The interactive chart below shows how the voting changed on a daily basis, which is to say not significantly, though Ansip and Savisaar had late rallies.

Starting in 1990, Estonia's prime ministers, in order, have been: Edgar Savisaar (Center), Tiit Vähi (Estonian Coalition Party, now defunct), Mart Laar (Pro Patria, forerunner to Isamaa), Andres Tarand (SDE), Mart Siimann (Estonian Coalition Party, now defunct), Siim Kallas (Reform), Juhan Parts (Res Publica Party, forerunner to Isamaa), Andrus Ansip (Reform), Taavi Rõivas (Reform), Jüri Ratas (Center) and Kaja Kallas (Reform).  

 There have been eight general elections in that time.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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