EKRE planning no major candidate changes in run-up to 2023 elections

EKRE held their annual congress in Tartu on April 9, 2022. Party leader Martin Helme.
EKRE held their annual congress in Tartu on April 9, 2022. Party leader Martin Helme. Source: Meelis Meilbaum

Conservative People's Party (EKRE) leader Martin Helme said that the party is planning no major changes in terms of where its frontrunners will be set up for the 2023 Riigikogu elections.

"It is important to note that we have regional in-house elections. They will be held some time in October. The board can make some adjustments to candidate lists after that. However, we largely had the lists ready by Midsummer Day when the possibility of extraordinary elections was in the air," Helme told ERR.

"We are not planning any major surprises or reshuffles. People who have been elected in districts will likely continue to run there," he added.

EKRE frontrunners at 2019 elections

Henn Põlluaas in Harju and Rapla counties, Mart Helme in Pärnu County, Monika Helme in Lääne, Saare and Hiiu counties, Jaak Madison in Järva and Viljandi counties, Kersti Kracht in Ida-Viru County, Uno Kaskpeit in Valga and Põlva counties, Anti Poolamets in Lääne-Viru County, Jaak Valge and Ruuben Kaalep in Tartu.

EKRE's candidates list for the election district made up of the Haabersti, North Tallinn and Kristiine boroughs of the capital was topped by Urmas Espenberg, while it was Martin Helme in Mustamäe and Nõmme and Leo Kunnas in Pirita and Lasnamäe.

"Mart and I will definitely run in the same districts, while Henn Põlluaas, Siim Pohlak and Rene Kokk will run in Harju and Rapla counties," Helme now said.

"There will be a couple of new faces, while my policy is not to risk new people in top places at Riigikogu elections. I would like to see people who have been with us for some time already. The frontrunners will be locked down somewhere in October," the party leader offered.

Helme said he is convinced a politician who has run in a district before already has a certain number of voters there. "Moving politicians from one district to another seems very risky to me. The other parties sometimes do that, but I believe a politician needs to have a connection to their district to put in the work and stay up to speed on local issues."

Aiming for two mandates from Ida-Viru County

Asked whether EKRE will be pursuing a new campaign strategy in Ida-Viru County, Helme said that the party invested resources during the local elections campaign it can now make use of. "It is sure to benefit us at Riigikogu elections. And we did not do all that poorly there [at local elections]. We are part of the coalition in Jõhvi and a few other local governments," Helme remarked.

The chairman said that EKRE will have a solid list in the easternmost county where Russian-speakers form the majority but was reluctant to reveal the frontrunner. "Our campaigning potential there is much improved. We have more people with more experience. I believe we will do rather well in the county. We are aiming for at least two mandates from the district."

Helme added that Kersti Kracht will not be running in 2023. "We have agreed that she will not run while her criminal case is outstanding. But we have several new and strong candidates in Ida-Viru County to make up for that," he said.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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