28,987 EU expatriates entitled to vote in local elections

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IRL's candidate for mayor, Raivo Aeg, may not have the support of all of Tallinn's expats, but at least they understand what he has to say. Source: (Siim Lõvi /ERR)

Of 182,841 non-citizens entitled to vote in the local elections on Oct. 15, 28,987 are from member states of the European Union. While the ongoing campaigns address the large groups of stateless as well as mainly Russian-speaking third-country citizens, only two parties are addressing expat voters in English.

A total number of 182,841 non-citizens are entitled to vote in the local elections on Oct. 15. The largest single group are the stateless holders of the Alien's Passport at 71,006. There are also 82,848 third-country citizens that can vote: this group includes nationalities ranging from Russian to Chinese and Australian to American.

While the currently ongoing campaigns address speakers of Estonian as well as Russian, all those who in this country would typically communicate in English have very little access to what is happening. A quick informal survey of ERR News of local expatriates and groups on social media brought out that only a small few have any idea at all of what the party's platforms are, and who they could vote for.

While this isn't supposed to suggest that taking an interest in local political life is a requirement, it is interesting that the Estonian parties haven't considered a pool of almost 30,000 votes they could rally to their support.

IRL first party to publish local platform in English

Overall, little to no campaign materials are available in English. Of the major political parties, only IRL has its platform for Tallinn available online in English, and, perhaps surprisingly, in German as well.

The Social Democrats have their platform for Tallinn online in English as well, though there is no link to the English material anywhere on their website, and googling the party's Tallinn section produces no immediately helpful result either.

Center Party candidate for Tallinn and veteran expat politician, Abdul Turay, also has some information about his campaign and his party on his blog, but like the Social Democrats the Center Party has not made this accessible through its main website, and people have to specifically look for information on Turay to find it.

28,987 votes might not sound very impressive, but in local terms we're talking about a group roughly the size of one of Tallinn's smaller boroughs. If they all decided to move to the same place, this would be the sixth-largest city in the country.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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