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Parempoolsed Q4 donations exceed those of Estonia's major parties

Deputy chair Kristjan Vanaselja ahead of the Parempoolsed party council in Tallinn last month. December 9, 2023.
Deputy chair Kristjan Vanaselja ahead of the Parempoolsed party council in Tallinn last month. December 9, 2023. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

In the fourth quarter of 2023, the nonparliamentary Parempoolsed racked up €323,574 in monetary donations, essentially as much as the three parliamentary parties to see the most donations last quarter combined.

As of Thursday morning, donations to the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) had not yet been added to the Political Party Funding Supervision Committee (ERJK) database, meaning the numbers could only be compared with those of five of Estonia's current six parliamentary political parties.

Parempoolsed published their own donation figures earlier this week, noting that the support they received allowed them to pay off their remaining outstanding debts from the 2023 Riigikogu elections.

Raul Kirjanen made the largest donation to the yearling party last quarter with €200,000, followed by €25,000 from Rain Lõhmus and €20,000 each from Sten Tamkivi and Taavet Hinrikus. The party also received €7,500 in support from Estonia's state budget.

Of the parties represented in the Riigikogu, the opposition Isamaa brought in the biggest sum of monetary donations at €131,655. The lion's share of this was donated by party member Parvel Pruunsild, who once again supported his party with €100,000.

A total of 12 people made monetary donations to Isamaa last quarter, including €20,000 from Jüri Taal and €5,000 from Kaspar Kokk as well.

The party also raised €6,510 in membership dues and received €102,558 in state budget support.

Saaremaa businessman gives Reform, SDE a boost

The coalition Reform Party brought in a combined €105,157 in monetary donations in the fourth quarter of 2023, with businessman Margus Vanaselja contributing €40,000 to the party.

Armin Karu donated another €25,000, while Andres Viisemann and Viljar Jaamu contributed a further €10,000 each.

Reform also raised €8,640 in membership dues and received a total of €474,333 in state budget support.

The coalition Social Democratic Party (SDE), meanwhile, received a combined €89,947 in donations, with Vanaselja's matching €40,000 donation likewise marking the party's biggest last quarter.

SDE member Eduard Odinets also donated €6,000, Lauri Paeveer €5,742, Maris Sild €5,297 and Andres Viisemann €5,000 to the party.

The Social Democrats also raised €7,254 in membership dues and received a further €115,378 in state budget support last quarter as well.

Center, Eesti 200 contributions dry up

In the fourth quarter of last year, the opposition Center Party brought in just €17,351 in monetary donations, with party chair Mihhail Kõlvart himself making the biggest contribution with €4,800.

Last quarter, its donations came mostly from party members themselves, including €1,558 from Mihkel Undrest, €1,250 from Andrei Kante and €1,000 from Betina Beškina.

At the same time, however, Center outstripped Estonia's other parties in membership dues received with €14,860. Party MP Lauri Laats paid the most in dues, totaling €3,626. The Center Party also received a further €205,117 in state budget support last quarter.

The coalition Eesti 200 endured an especially tough quarter at the end of last year, with low ratings ending up accompanied by just €1,588 in monetary donations.

It is worth noting that this is in contrast to the first quarter of 2023 – i.e. ahead of, during and immediately following the Riigikogu elections – when it was the previously nonparliamentary Eesti 200 that had racked up the most donations at €805,505. Over the quarters to follow, however, this sum dropped considerably – to €6,157 in the second, €2,267 in the third and €1,588 in the fourth quarter.

It also brought in the least amount of money in membership dues with just €2,055 – the lowest of the country's parliamentary parties. Eesti 200 also received €179,477 in support from the state budget.

The nonparliamentary Estonian Greens brought in a similar amount in donations last quarter with €1,543 – a third, or €496, of which was donated by party chair Evelyn Sepp.

Pruunsild donates €1 million in 2023

Looking at the overall numbers for for last year, Isamaa member and businessman Parvel Pruunsild donated a combined €1 million to political parties in Estonia – €700,000 to Isamaa and €300,000 to EKRE.

His total donations could have been even higher than that, however the Center Party opted amid internal conflict to return his €300,000 donation to the party.

The second biggest total donation for the year was Kirjanen's €200,000 to Parempoolsed, and third biggest €155,800 donated by entrepreneur and Eesti 200 member Priit Alamäe to his own party.

Businessmen Aivar Linnamäe and Joakim Helenius each made €150,000 in party donations last year, with the former contributing €100,000 to Isamaa and €50,000 to Reform, and the latter contributing all €150,000 to Eesti 200.

Vanaselja, meanwhile, donated a combined €130,000 to political parties last year, including a total of €90,000 to Reform and €40,000 to the Social Democrats.

Banker Rain Lõhmus' total of €125,000, meanwhile, went exclusively to Parempoolsed.

All other donation totals for the year remained below the €100,000 mark, including €85,000 each from Tamkivi, Hinrikus and Oleg Gross.

According to the latest figures available, Estonian political parties brought in a combined more than €4.9 million in monetary donations. This total still doesn't reflect donations made to EKRE in the fourth quarter, however.

In all, eight people made donations of €1 to a political party last year.

Isamaa donations also exceed €1 million

In 2023, Isamaa saw the highest overall donation numbers, exclusively exceeding the €1 million mark with €1,074,034. As stated above, €700,000 thereof came from Pruunsild alone.

Reform came in second with €820,364 in total support, followed just barely by Eesti 200 with €815,517.

Parempoolsed, meanwhile, drummed up a total of €712,929 and the SDE €702,489 in donations last year.

The Center Party managed to attract a combined €280,968 in donations last year, and while EKRE's fourth quarter numbers still aren't in, the party had received a combined €431,675 in the first three quarters of the year.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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