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Poll: Most people back Estonian president not inviting all MPs to reception

President's Independence Day reception at Estonia Concert Hall in Tallinn. February 24, 2019.
President's Independence Day reception at Estonia Concert Hall in Tallinn. February 24, 2019. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

More than two thirds of people in Estonia believe the president was right in not inviting all 101 Riigikogu MPs to the presidential Independence Day reception this year, according to a recent poll commissioned by the nonprofit Institute for Societal Studies (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut) and conducted by Norstat.

In all, 69 percent of respondents believe President Alar Karis made the right choice in inviting only the Board of the Riigikogu, Riigikogu committee chairs and deputy chairs as well as party whips to the traditional reception on February 24 this year.

Another 14 percent believe the president was wrong, and 17 percent were unable to say.

Broken down by party preference, those who backed the Estonian head of state's decision were in the majority across all parliamentary party voters.

This includes 87 percent of Isamaa voters, 78 percent of Eesti 200 voters, 70 percent of Social Democratic Party (SDE) voters, 68 percent of Reform Party voters, 61 percent of Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) voters and 60 percent of Center Party voters.

The president's choice also had majority approval across all socio-demographic groups.

President Alar Karis announced last Friday that he would be inviting only the Board of the Riigikogu, committee chairs and deputy chairs as well as party whips to this year's Independence Day reception, ultimately leaving out most of the Riigikogu's 101 MPs.

The head of state's decision drew backlash from several politicians. EKRE's parliamentary group, for example, unanimously agreed that their representatives would not be attending the event. Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) likewise announced Thursday that she stands in solidarity with the MPs and won't be attending the president's Independence Day reception either.

On January 24, Norstat polled a total of 1,008 Estonian citizens aged 18 or older; respondents were polled online.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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