The non-parliamentary Parempoolsed party says it will be running a full list at next summer's European elections.
Up for grabs at the European Parliament election in June 6-9, 2024 are seven MEP seats. Parempoolsed, formed last year, contested its first election – to the Riigikogu – in March, and while it failed to win any seats, it surpassed the 2 percent voting threshold required to secure state support, and as such is at a stage in its life-cycle comparable with Eesti 200 in 2019.
Parempoolsed leader, former prosecutor general Lavly Perling, said ahead of Saturday's board meeting that: "There are people on the board who will shape policy, cooperate with other political parties and, of course, approve the electoral lists eventually."
"We have a leadership cadre of party members who have come together and put their first thoughts on paper. It is clear that we will run in the European Parliament elections, with a full list. Tomorrow we will agree what the next steps can be, what the content [of the electoral manifesto], the campaign and everything else that goes with the elections will be like," Perling went on.
Saturday's meeting is the party's first full board convocation and members from across the country will attend; Parempoolsed established its Tartu, Ida-Viru and Pärnu counties regions only last week.
Elections to party chair and vice chairs will be held also.
Perling would not say if she will be top candidate on Parempoolsed's electoral list, though said she is certainly running.
"I believe we have a very strong roster. As for the particular order, it's too early to say. As to question of whether I myself will participate in the European Parliament elections, then yes, I will certainly be running," Perling went on.
Under Estonia's d'Hondt system of proportional representation, parties run ordered lists of candidates in each electoral district. This allows candidates higher up on the list to distribute their excess votes, once they have reached the threshold number of votes to win a seat, to candidates lower down on the list.
In this way candidates can win seats even if they only polled at a fairly modest level in their own right.
On the other hand, Estonia is treated as one single electoral district at European elections, and there are only seven seats to compete for, making parties pre-election strategies, including their order of candidates, even more critical – not the least because at European elections, voters often tend to go for candidate over party.
Perling as noted is a former prosecutor general and has been heavily involved in working with the prosecutor's office in Ukraine, after leaving her former role.
Perling also addressed, in response to an ERR question, the slightly odd situation her party faces in that one of its members, Keijo Lindeberg, is an alternate member of the avowedly pro-Kremlin United Left Party (EÜVP).
"Lawyers also sometimes have to defend traitors and murderers. He is doing his job,. and you should definitely speak to him about his work. He is an ordinary rank-and-file party member, and does not have any leading political role," she added.
Lindeberg himself has said he has hired a head of communications and is involved in other aspects of running the EÜVP, which is not only in the process of electing its own new board and leader, but also plans to rename itself, as it happens to Vasakpoolsed (which would literally translate as "left wingers" just as Parempoolsed translates as "right wingers" in English).
Perling also said that the party is working hard towards paying off debts accrued of around €255,000 (down from €265,000 in late October).
Estonia had formerly had six MEP seats at the 705-seat chamber, but this was upped to seven as the result of the distribution of some of the UK's MEP seats, after it left the EU.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Aleksander Krjukov