Record low numbers of independent candidates and election coalitions are running in this year's local government council elections in Estonia.
Just 59 independent candidates are running in the local elections taking place on Oct. 15 — ten fewer than the previous record low of 69 independent candidates in the 2005 elections and slightly over half of the 101 that ran in the most recent local elections in 2013.
The greatest number of independent candidates, 807, ran in the first local elections held following the reestablishment of Estonian independence, in 1993. This number was halved to 409 in the 1996 local elections, and shrank even further to 159 independent candidates in the 1999 elections.
The number of election coalitions has also decreased over the years, although not as drastically. 163 election coalitions have been registered for the Oct. 15 elections, edging out the previous record low of 186 in 2005. 292 election coalitions took part in the most recent local elections in 2013.
Similarly to independent candidates, the largest number of election coalitions, 738, ran in the local elections in 1993, with large numbers seen in the 1996 (621) and 1999 (570) elections as well. A clear drop in the number of election coalitions began with the 2002 local government council elections.
It is worth noting, however, that the reduction in the number of election coalitions may be affected by the nationwide administrative form, as a result of which over 200 local governments will be reduced to just 79 following the October elections.
Early and online voting in this fall's local government council elections will begin on Oct. 5; Election Day is on Oct. 15.
Editor: Aili Vahtla