Parties gearing up for Riigikogu elections campaigns

Riigikogu. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Riigikogu elections are just over six months away, with parties about to launch or already working on campaigns.

Opposition leader the Center Party has already managed to advertise itself on the cover of a newspaper. Andre Hanimägi, the party's secretary general, told "Aktuaalne kaamera" news that the Center Party will unveil its program come fall, while posters will be set up before elections [in March].

He listed healthcare, coping of the elderly and a tax debate as Center's core election topics.

"We need to continue the tax debate. We need to find the places where we can afford slightly bigger tax hikes to give people in need a more cohesive society. We support progressive income tax," Hanimägi explained.

Center's campaign will be cheaper financially than in previous years.

"It will likely remain in the local elections ballpark of under €1 million," he suggested.

The ruling Reform Party said it will have its program and list of candidates ready in a month's time.

"The real campaign will kick off in September when we have events planned for showcasing our program and introducing candidates. The show will start in September, said Timo Suslov, Reform's secretary general.

The Reform Party has earmarked €2 million for its campaign, with coping and national security at the heart of it.

"Estonian education is no less important. This coalition has laid down the groundwork for what is a very important issue for us," Suslov offered.

The opposition Conservative People's Party (EKRE) had its election list and campaign plans more or less ready in June, party leader Martin Helme said. EKRE launched preparations ahead of time as they counted on the possibility of extraordinary elections.

The party convened in Saaremaa on Saturday to discuss the political situation and talk about elections. EKRE will launch their campaign in September.

"We will start introducing our program come fall. [Candidate] lists need to be voted on in-house, which we will get done sometime in October-November. Various campaign activities other than advertising, such as setting up campaign tents, meeting with people and holding speech meetings, will also be launched mainly in September," Helme said.

Art Johanson, analyst for NGO Institute of Societal Studies, suggested that the forming of the coalition will be an important part of campaigns.

"While [campaign] efforts have no doubt been launched, the recent forming of the coalition will certainly be a big part of the campaigns of Isamaa and the Social Democrats in terms of what is visible today," he said.

Johanson said that while autumn will reveal which topics will become the most contentious, energy and price advance are bound to be at the heart of it," he said.

Riigikogu elections will be held on March 5.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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