Tallinn's Electoral District 1: Can Kaljulaid repeat 2019 success with SDE?

Potential candidates for political parties in Tallinn's first electoral district.
Potential candidates for political parties in Tallinn's first electoral district. Source: ERR

In Tallinn's Electoral District 1, perhaps the most interesting thing to look out for, will be the performance of Raimond Kaljulaid. Kaljulaid, who won a big personal mandate during the last election on the Center Party's list, is running in District 1 once again, but this time as the frontrunner for the SDE.

How will Tanel Kiik, who has replaced Kaljulaid as the Center Party's frontrunner, fare? Will Varro Vooglaiou provide a boost for EKRE, which was unsuccessful in this district in 2019?

There are 10 Riigikogu mandates up for grabs in Electoral District 1, which consists of Haabersti, Põhja-Tallinn and Kristiine in Tallinn.

In the 2019 Riigikogu elections, the Center Party was the most successful in this district, winning just over 30 percent of the vote. Raimond Kaljulaid, who later left Center to join the Social Democrats (SDE), personally won 7,303 of the party's total of 16,950 votes.

The Reform Party was not far behind Center last time out, with 29 percent of the vote. EKRE came third with 11.3 percent, the SDE was fourth with 10.2 percent and Isamaa fifth on 8.8 percent. Eesti 200 received 4.7 percent of the vote in this district in 2019.

Reform led by Michal, Riisalo second

Reform's frontrunner in District 1 will be Kristen Michal, who also received a personal mandate in 2019 after earning 6,347 votes in the same district. Michal will now be looking for a similarly positive result this time round.

Reform's number two in this district last time, Heidy Purga, who picked up 4,763 votes, is running elsewhere on this occasion while the party's previous number three Arto Aas, who won 2,339 votes in 2019 has now left politics.

Kristen Michal. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Minister for Social Protection Signe Riisalo, who is now second on Reform's list will be aiming to capture those votes that previously went to Purga and Aas. In third place on Reform's list is Ukrainian-born fashion designer Oksana Tandit.

Other candidates on Reform's list include Mati Raidma, Pärtel-Peeter Pere, and Jevgeni Krištafovitši.

Center - Kiik will have a hard time repeating Kaljulaid's result

After the departure of Raimond Kaljulaid, who won the most votes in this district in 2019, Center will go into the next elections with a new frontrunner; former health minister and current Tallinn Deputy Mayor Tanel Kiik.

During the last Riigikogu elections, Kiik stood in the Kesklinn, Lasnamäe and Pirita district, gaining just 237 votes. Kiik received 871 votes during the last local elections in Põhja-Tallinn, putting him in third behind after Yana Toom and Vadim Belobrovtsev. This time, Kiik can count on the backing of a strong party apparatus, which worked a treat for Kaljulaid in 2019, however a repeat of that success seems unlikely.

Tanel Kiik. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The contradictory messages, which Center appears to be presenting at times to (ethnic) Estonian and Russian-speaking audience and the fact that, overall, its level of support is lower now than in the lead up to the 2019 elections, is unlikely to help either.

Among those following Kiik on Center's list in District 1 are Vadim Belobrovtsev, Marek Jürgenson, Anastassia Kovalenko-Kõlvart , Andre Hanimägi, Betina Beškina, Jaanus Riibe, Manuela Pihlap and Märt Sults.

EKRE - Addition of Vooglaid expected to improve results

In the last Riigikogu elections, EKRE had 11.3 percent support in this district, notably lower than the 17.8 percent the party received throughout Estonia as a whole. This time, EKRE is hoping that the electoral debut of Varro Vooglaiu will enable them to get a much better result in District 1 this time around.

EKRE's frontrunner in this district is Riigkogu MP Urmas Reitelmann. Urmas Espenberg, who also ran in the previous elections, is in third place on the list. Reitelmann was EKRE's most successful candidate last time out, with 2,585 votes, while Espenberg won 1,974.

Urmas Reitelmann. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Sandwiched between the two Urmas' is Varro Vooglaid. Vooglaid, who is one of the leaders of the Foundation for the Protection of the Family and Tradition (SAPTK), is standing as an independent candidate on EKRE's list.

A close contest is expected between Vooglaiu and Reitelmann to see who will be the first to achieve enough support to make it to the Riigikogu.

EKRE's top three will be joined by, among others, Toivo Tasa, Ants Miller, Elvis Brauer. Argo Luude is only in tenth place on EKRE's list, however, the man dubbed "the rubbish king" by the press certainly has the potential to run a strong personal campaign and pick up a good result.

What can Kaljulaid do for the SDE?

The Social Democratic Party (SDE) has higher expectations in this constituency than in any other. Their frontrunner is Raimond Kaljulaid, who won the most votes in this district during the last elections (7,303), earning a personal mandate.

However, this time around, Kaljulaid will no longer have the support of the Center Party apparatus, the municipal media or benefit from being district mayor, which helped him a lot at grassroots level in 2019. It would therefore come as no great surprise if his vote count falls somewhat on this occasion.

Raimond Kaljulaid. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

As Kaljulaid is the party frontrunner, Minister of Economic Affairs Riina Sikkut, who was second on the SDE's list in this district last time, receiving 1,610 votes, will now lead the SDE in Electoral District 3 (Nõmme and Mustamäe).

In addition to Kaljulaid, the SDE's list for Haabersti, Põhja-Tallinn and Kristiine is sure to include Riigikogu MP Jaak Juske, Tallinn city nightlife adviser Natalie Mets, Tallinn Deputy Mayor Joosep Vimm, and writer and filmmaker Kadri Kõusaar.

The precise order in which candidates will appear on the SDE's list will soon be decided by the party.

Riina Solman becomes Isamaa's new frontrunner

Isamaa's frontrunner for Tallinn's Electoral District 1 in 2019 Tarmo Kruusimäe, will stand in District 2 (Kesklinn, Lasnamäe and Pirita) this time around. Mart Luik, who was second on the party's last during the previous elections, has now left politics and now serves on the board of Estonian state broadcaster ERR.

Minister of Public Administration Riina Solman (Isamaa). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Minister of Public Administration Riina Solman will now be Isamaa's  frontrunner in the district. Last time out, Solman ran in Tallinn's Electoral District 2 (Kesklinn, Lasnamäe and Pirita), winning 906 votes. In second place is Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Kristjan Järvan, who is making his electoral debut. Isamaa's list also includes Tiit Meren, Karl Sander Kase, Helen Hääle.

The Isamaa party council will confirm its lists for all electoral districts on Tuesday.

Eesti 200 - Normet probably first, intriguing Izmailova switch

Eesti 200 has not yet finalized its list or rankings, however, Liina Normet, who was the party's frontrunner four years ago, is likely to keep the number one spot this time around. Normet was also the most successful Eesti 200 candidate in this district in the last elections, gathering 1,048 votes.

Marek Reinaas, who came second Tallinn's District 1 during the last elections, will this time be Eesti 200's frontrunner in the Tallinna Kesklinn, Lasnamäe and Pirita district.

Liina Normet (Eesti 200). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Running alongside Normet will be, among others, Diana Ingerainen, Züleyxa Izmailova, Pirkko Konsa, Karin Kaup-Lapõnin, Peeter-Eerik Ots and Tiia Sihver.

The most intriguing of these seems to be Izmailova, who has switched parties. In the last elections, she also stood in Tallinn's District 1, but as leader of the Estonian Greens, winning more than half of that party's votes for the district (923 of 1,812).

Estonian Greens and Parempoolsed

Haabersti, Põhja-Tallinn and Kristiine were the most successful electoral districts for the Estonian Greens during the last elections, accounting for almost a fifth of the party's total number of votes. However, much of this was thanks to the popularity of former leader Züleyxa Izmailova, who is now with Eesti 200.

According to Greens co-chair, Johanna Maria Tõugu, the part will be represented in this constituency will be Liina Freivald. Freivald is a businesswoman, who is also a member of the party's leadership group.

Liina Freivald. Source: Andreas Jõesaar

However, Tõugu added that the list has not yet been confirmed and may still be subject to change. According to the current plans, Sigrid Ojavee, Fidelia-Signe Roots and Hannes Liitmäe are also set to stand on the Greens' list.

Parempoolsed vice-chair Siim Kiisler, told ERR that the party's lists are still to be confirmed and will be published in due course.


According to the latest Norstat survey, 38 percent of voters in this district are likely to vote for the Reform Party, compared to 17 percent for Center and 17 percent for EKRE.

Support for Eesti 200 is currently at 11 percent, with the SDE at eight percent and Isamaa on six percent. The Greens and Parempoolsed both have less than one percent support each.

However, these results primarily reflect the popularity of the parties' brands. The selection of specific candidates can have an impact on the success of parties in different constituencies, depending on their individual strengths or weaknesses.

More information about the 2023 Riigikogu elections from ERR News' can be found on our dedicated page here.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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