Mustamäe and Nõmme: Four new frontrunners and 20 years of Paet

Frontrunners in the Mustamäe and Nõmme electoral district.
Frontrunners in the Mustamäe and Nõmme electoral district. Source: ERR

Four of the six major parties will have new frontrunners for the upcoming Riigikogu elections in Tallinn's third electoral district, Mustamäe and Nõmme. Meanwhile, the Reform Party is again backing Urmas Paet, who has been number one on the party's list in this district since 2003.

In Electoral District 3, Tallinn's Mustamäe and Nõmme, eight Riigikogu seats are available. As the weight of the Russian vote is smaller in these districts, the Reform Party won a clear victory here in 2019, taking 32.5 percent of the vote. Centre won 23.9 percent, EKRE 14.1 percent and Isamaa 10.2 percent. The SDE earned 9.3 of the district's votes, while Eesti 200 managed 4.6 percent.

The only individual mandate went to Reform's Urmas Paet who won 8,584 votes. The district mandates went to Martin Helme (EKRE) with 5,967 votes, Maris Lauri (Reform) with 4,431 votes, Taavi Aas (Center) with 3,925 votes, Lauri Laats (Center) with 3,251 votes and Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) with 2,633 votes. The compensatory mandates went to Vilja Toomast (Reform) with 953 votes and Johannes Kert (Reform), who collected 708 votes.

Reform backs Paet for sixth election in a row

Almost as certain as death and taxes, is the fact that the Reform Party will go with Riigikogu MP and Member of the European Parliament Urmas Paet as its frontrunner in Mustamäe and Nõmme. Paet has led Reform in this district since the 2003 Riigikogu elections and it is fairly safe to assume that his sixth spell as district frontrunner will be no worse than the previous ones, whether he campaigns actively or not.

Urmas Paet. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Second for Reform is Riigikogu MP Maris Lauri, with long-time naval commander Igor Schvede, who joined the party in October, in third. With security sure to be an important issue for voters in these elections due to the war in Ukraine, adding Schvede should enhance Reform's credibility in this area.

Among the other names on Reform's list in Mustamäe and Nõmme are Vilja Toomast, Õnne Pillak, Eero Merilind and Kaido Kaaberma.

EKRE puts hopes in Helme, expects Järvi to provide effective support

EKRE's frontrunner in Mustamäe and Nõmme is party chair Martin Helme. Helme won a personal mandate in this district last time round, with 5,967 votes. Helme himself won nearly 85 percent of EKRE's votes in Mustamäe and Nõmme, meaning the nine candidates behind him on the party's 2019 list proved unappealing to voters.

In the last round of local elections, Martin Helme also received 2,957 votes in Mustamäe.

Martin Helme. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Second on EKRE's list behind Helme, is Markus Järvi. Järvi, who is one of the leaders of the Foundation for the Protection of Family and Tradition (SAPTK), told ERR that he will run as a candidate for EKRE, but will not join the party.

EKRE will be hoping that the addition of Järvi addition will help strengthen its list and also bring in extra votes that Martin Helme might not attract otherwise.

Kadri Vilba, EKRE's number two in 2019, who won 367 votes, is in third place this time.

Center puts local election star in the driving seat

Taavi Aas, Center's 2019 frontrunner in Mustamäe and Nõmme, is standing in Jõgeva and Tartu counties this time. That means Lauri Laats will take up the reigns for Center in this district for 2023.

Laats, who lived in Abkhazia until the age of 12, moving to Estonia with his family when the war broke out, and speaks excellent Russian. He was also elected in 2019 with 3,251 votes, however, opted to continue in the role of Mustamäe district elder instead.

In the 2021 local elections, Laats received the support of 8,457 voters in Mustamäe, the second highest haul in the whole of Estonia. Laats even outperformed Center Party leader Jüri Ratas, who stood in the same district, winning 3,032 votes.

Former Minister of Culture and current Deputy Chair of Tallinn City Council Tiit Terik, is likely to be second on Center's Mustamäe and Nõmme list. Terik, won 799 votes in the 2019 Riigikogu elections in this district and 1,370 in Nõmme during the most recent local elections.

Lauri Laats. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Former Minister of Culture and current Deputy Chair of Tallinn City Council Tiit Terik, is likely to be second on Center's Mustamäe and Nõmme list. Terik, won 799 votes in the 2019 Riigikogu elections in this district and 1,370 in Nõmme during the most recent local elections.

Center has yet to confirm who will follow Terik on the list.

Isamaa's changes mean Raivo Tamm takes top spot

Isamaa is also making changes to its Mustamäe and Nõmme lists for these elections. The chain of events began with Jüri Luik, the party's frontrunner in Harju and Rapla county during the last elections, dropping out of the race altogether. As a result, Minister of Defense Urmas Reinsalu, who led the way in Nõmme and Mustamäe in 2019, winning 2,633 votes will step into Luik's shoes in Harju and Rapla.

This all means that Raivo Tamm, who ran in  Jõgeva and Tartu counties last time, will take over as Isamaa's frontrunner in Mustamäe and Nõmme for 2023. Tamm stood in the Kristiine district during the most recent local elections, gathering 759 votes.

Raivo Tamm. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Tamm will be backed up on Isamaa's list by Minister of Justice Lea Danilson-Järg, who makes her electoral debut, and Advisor to the Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology, Kalle Muul.

Sikkut changes district in Tallinn

The Social Democrats (SDE) have also come out with new names at the top of their list in Mustamäe and Nõmme. In 2019, SDE candidates Helve Särgava and Rainer Vakra received 1,466 and 1,440 votes respectively, which was not enough for either to make it into the Riigikogu. Vakra's performance in particular was disappointing after having amassed 4,132 just four years earlier.

Särgava resigned from the party in June 2019, while Vakra followed suit in January 2021.

Riina Sikkut Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Current Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, SDE Vice-Chair Riina Sikkut, will be the party's frontrunner in the Mustamäe and Nõmme district this time, having switched from Haabersti, Põhja-Tallinn and Kristiine (Tallinn's District 1), where she earned 1,610 votes in 2019.

Joining Sikkut on the SDE's list for Mustamäe and Nõmme are party vice-chair and former Nõmme district elder and entrepreneur Lauri Paeveer, current Nõmme district elder Karmo Kuri, Tallinn disabled people's chamber services coordinator Külli Urb and former journalist Vahur Koorits.

Eesti 200 bring Tsahkna from Tartu to Tallinn

Eesti 200 received 4.6 percent of the vote in Mustamäe and Nõmme during the last Riigikogu election, which was slightly higher than the party's 4.4 percent result nationally. Current party chair Lauri Hussar won 1,300 votes in Mustamäe and Nõmme in 2019, though this time he is running in Harju and Rapla counties, Estonia's largest electoral district.

Margus Tsahkna. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Former Isamaa party chair and ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna will instead be Eesti 200's frontrunner in Mustamäe and Nõmme this time. Tsahkna stood in Tartu in 2019, winning 612 votes.

Eesti 200's list is also expected to include Kris Leinatamm, Aleksei Jašin, Tanel Sokk, Kadri Jäätma, Juku-Kalle Raid and Ülo Pikkov.

The party's youth organizer and rising star Hendrik Terras, will also stand in this district. Terras has pedigree, having won a respectable 576 votes in Mustamäe during the last local elections.

Estonian Greens and Parempoolsed

Estonian Greens co-chair Johanna Maria Tõugu, said that the party's frontrunner in the Mustamäe and Nõmme District will be leadership group member and artist Helina Tilk.

Helina Tilk. Source: Züleyxa Izmailova

Environmental activists Katrin Jõgisaar and Janek Jõgisaar are also running for the Greens in this district along with Secretary General of the Greens' Youth Assembly Egle Olesk,, entrepreneur Harri Tilk and climate expert Alina Lerner.

In the previous- Riigikogu elections four years ago, Kaspar Kurve (438 votes) won the most votes for the Greens, followed by Tõnu Trubetsky (226) and Katrin Jõgisaar (193).

Parempoolsed vice-chair Siim Kiisler, has told ERR that the party is still in the process of confirming its final lists.


According to Norstat's latest survey, 41 percent of voters in this district say they will vote for the Reform Party, 16 percent support the Center Party and 13 percent favor EKRE.

Support for Isamaa was at nine percent according to the survey, with Eesti 200 and the SDE each on eight percent. The Estonian Greens have three percent, while Parempoolsed are on two percent.

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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