The Center Party is likely to lose its overall majority on Tallinn City Council at this October's local elections, according to one expert.
Tõnis Stamberg, of market research firm Turu-uuringute, told ERR Tuesday that: "Looking at the bigger picture, it is quite clear that the Center Party alone will no longer rule the city."
Center has long ruled in isolation in Tallinn, while the other parties, Reform, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), the Social Democrats (SDE) and Isamaa, have remained in opposition, while a fifth party, Eesti 200, is now an additional consideration, Stamberg noted.
Speaking on ERR news webcast "Otse uudistemajast" Tuesday, Stamberg said: "Taking into consideration that stateless persons and young people from the age of 16 can also vote in local elections, there will be four major players in Tallinn: Reform, Center, EKRE and Eesti 200."
The voting age is 16 in local elections, rather than 18 as in Riigikogu and European elections. Additionally, all residents of Estonia can vote, and not only Estonian citizens.
The stateless persons Stamberg referred to are those, overwhelmingly Russian-speaking, residents of Estonia who have neither citizenship of Estonia nor of anywhere else. They are most numerous in Ida-Viru County.
Stamberg said that with Reform, Center and EKRE in particular there was virtually nothing to choose from, based partly on a recent survey Turu-uuringute published.
The Turu-uuringute study polls only Estonian citizens, with Riigikogu elections in mind, rather than all residents who, as noted, can vote in October's election.
Co-hosts Anvar Samost and Urmet Kook noted that to retain its overall majority in Tallinn, Center would need at least 40 percent of the vote, an outcome they described as unlikely.
As to the question whether there would also be room for SDE and Isamaa in a Tallinn City Government coalition, Stamberg said that: "It's not out of the question at all."
The local elections take place on October 17, with a six-day advance voting period beforehand. They are unconnected with the presidential elections starting August 30, where only the 101 Riigikogu MPs can vote, in the initial rounds.
Editor: Andrew Whyte