Around 80 foreign observers monitoring Riigikogu elections

Advance voting  in Tallinn on Monday, February 27, 2023.
Advance voting in Tallinn on Monday, February 27, 2023. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Some 80 foreign observers are in Estonia to oversee the Riigikogu elections. The advance voting period started Monday, while polling day is Sunday, March 5.

Arne Koitmäe, head of the  State Electoral Office (RVT), told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) Tuesday that: "There are observers from nearby countries, from Scandinavia, but also from further afield – a delegation of Brazilian election officials has promised, there is also a delegation from the US. In general, yes, all over the world."

"People have certainly noticed there are [other] people here and there who are observing the activity. This is intended to ensure its transparency and monitoring, meaning the more observers there are, the better," he went on.

"From now they can follow the ballot box opening processes, on polling day. However, before that, we will carry out a separate introductory briefing, where we will showcase how e-voting works," Koitmäe added.

Political parties themselves also have their own representatives monitoring the process.

Timo Suslov, Reform Party Secretary General, said: "In the course of the Riigikogu elections, ordinary party members have been offered the opportunity to be observers, and certainly some have taken that up. The candidates themselves will definitely not be taking part, however."

Kadri Vilba, who coordinates observers from the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), said: "An observer looks at the work of the [electoral] committee, and how voting is taking place, whether the seals on the ballot boxes are installed correctly, whether paperwork is all correct and set in place, and whether everything is legally above board, and with no agitation having taken place."

Many observers will be taken by bus to polling stations outside the capital, namely in Haapsalu, Rakvere and Maardu.

Observers from outside Estonia are also interested in e-voting, somewhat of a flagship tech for many years now.

The polling station observations take place both during the advance voting period (from Monday to Thursday, only select polling stations are open), and on Sunday, election day, itself.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael

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