Urmas Reinsalu spent most on Riigikogu electoral campaigning
Ougoing Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) spent the most on his own personal electoral campaign, out of all 968 candidates who ran at the March 5 Riigikogu election.
Reinsalu spent close to €50,000 (see below), a combination of donations and his own money.
By party, Center candidates spent the most on individual campaigning (€378,000 combined), followed by Isamaa (€217,000) and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (close to €150,000).
This logically follows given these parties reported more modest donation levels as a whole, in the run-up to the election.
All other political parties' individual candidates' combined campaign costs were below the €100,000-mark.
The data, published by the Political Parties Financing Surveillance Committee (ERJK) also reveals interesting results in that some candidates spent thousands of euros, or even tens of thousands, but did not win a seat.
Isamaa took eight seats on March 5
The issue hit Isamaa in particular – the party only won eight seats at the election on March 5.
Urmas Reinsalu was one of those eight to win a seat; his campaign cost €49,500, €10,000 of which came from a donation from businessman Jaanus Vool.
Following Reinsalu, the party's chief whip at the last Riigikogu session, Priit Sibul, had a campaign costing €38,500, the bulk of which comprised donations.
Olympic Entertainment Group majority shareholder Armin Karu, LHV Pank supervisory board member Heldur Meerits and Argo Luude, who has been listed as an EKRE candidate, donated €10,000 each, while real estate and food production entrepreneur Toomas Kõuhkna donated €7,300.
Other high-costing Isamaa campaigns included Aivar Kokk, who won a seat after contributing €31,100 of his own money.
Former ETV sports journalist Marko Kaljuveer ran in the Kesklinna, Lasnamäe and Pirita district, in Tallinn, polling at 349 votes, meaning he did not win a seat.
The campaign cost €29,000, €10,000 of which was donated by BigBank owner Parvel Pruunsild, the rest from Kaljuveer himself.
Much the same happened with Juhani Jaeger, whose campaign cost €20,000 (€16,000 from Pruunsild), though he did not win a seat.
EKRE candidates spent almost 150,000
EKRE's MPs spent €148,600 of their own money on campaigning, mostly related to political advertising.
Alar Laneman's campaign was the most expensive at €14,000, mostly from his own pocket. Laneman won a seat running in the Pärnu County district.
Meanwhile, Kai Rimmel's campaign cost €13,500, though she failed to win a seat.
Varro Vooglaid did enter the Riigikogu, via a district mandate in Tallinn Haabersti, Põhja Tallinn and Kristiine, at a cost of €7,300, most of it printing costs for campaign ads. The saum mostly came via donations of a few hundred euros each, ERR reports.
Of other EKRE MPs with significant campaign expenses, Siim Pohlak (€5,400) took a seat, while Merle Kives, Elar Niglas (€6,400 each) and Mait Talu (€5,300) did not.
Reform MPs spent €21,600 all told
Reform's MPs contributed considerably less despite the party winning 37 seats.
Kristina Šmigun-Vähi, who won a district mandate, provided the largest sum, €4,450, followed by Eve Altrov, who spent €4,100 but did not win a seat.
Other significant spenders were Toomas Kivimägi (€3,300) and Anti Haugas (€2,800), both of whom entered the XV Riigikogu.
Reform Party MPs as a whole contributed €21,600 towards campaigning.
The expenses incurred and reported above come from ERJK data, which reflects the expenses of those candidates running on a party list who contributed towards their own campaign, regardless of whether this came from their own funds or from donations.
Political parties' own spend on their campaigns, which necessarily included individuals as well as the entire party, are reported in the ERJK quarterly financials.
Of the latter, the Center Party, Eesti 200, the Social Democrats (SDE), Parempoolsed and the United Left Party (EÜVP) had submitted their reports by the April 5 deadline.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Barbara Oja