Hot on the heels of the Social Democratic (SDE) and Reform parties announcing their primary candidates in each of the 12 electoral districts at the March 2019 general election, ruling coalition majority party Centre has done the same.
Centre, from whose ranks Prime Minister Jüri Ratas comes, will run the latter in Harju and Rapla counties, with three current ministers, one MEP and the deputy head of the Riigikogu joining him as front-runners in other districts.
The parties have only confirmed their prime candidates so far; parties can run up to two more candidates in each electoral district than the district quota sets. In a district with 12 candidates per party, for instance, this would mean 14 could be named, with the two lowest vote-recipients being struck off immediately. Votes for each party are then redistributed amongst the remainder using the d'Hondt method across all parties.
Centre number one candidates in the remaining constituencies are as follows:
- Haabersti, North Tallinn and Kristiine: Raimond Kaljulaid (current North Tallinn district elder and half-brother of President Kersti Kaljulaid).
- City Centre, Lasnamäa and Pirita: Mihhail Kõlvart (current Tallinn city council leader).
- Mustmäe and Nõmme: Taavi Aas (current Tallinn mayor).
Rest of Estonia:
- Tartu city: Aadu Must.
- Hiiu, Lääne and Saare counties: Enn Eesma (current Riigikogu deputy head).
- Jõgeva and Tartu counties: Janek Mäggi (current Minister of Public Administration).
- Võru, Valga and Põlva counties: Tarmo Tamm (current rural affairs minister).
- Ida Viru County: Yana Toom (current MEP).
- Viljandi and Järva counties: Jaak Aab (former public administration minister).
- Lääne Viru county: Siret Kotka-Repinski.
Of the above, Aadu Must, Enn Eesmaa and Siret Kotka-Repinski are sitting MPs. Ministers do not sit in the Riigikogu but can run at the election. Should they continue in the cabinet after the election, they vacate their seat in favour of the next candidate on the list in numbers of votes received.
Thus Centre, like Reform and SDE, have a strong list of candidates who attract votes within districts, even before other political notables such as Oudekki Loone or Märt Sults, or 'celebrity candidates' such as Kaido Höövelson, former sumo champion 'Baruto', are added into the mix.
The other coalition party, Isamaa/Pro Patria, and opposition parties the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and the Free Party, not to mention non-parliamentary parties like the Greens, or newcomers such as Estonia 200, will struggle with matching them for luminaries.
Full lists of candidates in all districts are likely to be announced by most parties in December.
The general election is on 3 March 2019.
Editor: Andrew Whyte