At an assembly held at the Tallinn Botanic Garden on Saturday, the extended board of the Pro Patria Party endorsed the party's lists of candidates for the 2019 Riigikogu elections to take place on 3 March.
Party chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder said that the results of the recent Kantar Emor survey indicate that support for Pro Patria is on the rise, granting the party a good starting position at the upcoming elections.
Sven Sester, chairman of the party's extended board, said that Pro Patria would be heading into the elections with a full list that includes 125 candidates.
"The list includes longstanding fine members of Pro Patria, eminent public figures who have rejoined the party as well as well-known newcomers," Sester explained. "I am glad to acknowledge that there are candidates from all fields of life, and the list features many specialists of their respective fields."
The top three Pro Patria candidates for each electoral district are as follows:
Tarmo Kruusimäe, Mart Luik, Helen Hääl
Central Tallinn-Lasnamäe-Pirita (Tallinn)
Sven Sester, Viktoria-Ladõnskaja-Kubits, Riina Solman
Urmas Reinsalu, Mart Nutt, Elle Kull
Harju, Rapla Counties
Jüri Luik, Toomas Tõniste, Kalle Muuli
Hiiu, Lääne, Saare Counties
Raivo Aeg, Mart Maasik, Georg Linkov
Marko Pomerants, Üllar Saaremäe, Tamara Vahtra-Aasmets
Siim Kiisler, Tiit Salvan, Maarja-Liisa Veiser
Järva, Viljandi Counties
Helir-Valdor Seeder, Kaia Iva, Priit Värk
Jõgeva, Tartu Counties
Aivar Kokk, Eva Kams, Tiit Lääne
City of Tartu
Tõnis Lukas, Lauri Vahtre, Mihhail Lotman
Võru, Valga, Põlva Counties
Priit Sibul, Merle Jääger, Meelis Mõttus
Andres Metsoja, Ela Tomson, Lauri Luur
Pro Patria's candidate lists include several influential cultural figures, such as film producer Kris Taska, freelance actor and director Üllar Saaremäe, actors Merle Jääger and Raivo E. Tamm, opera singer Pille Lill as well as director Ingo Normet.
Those standing for education and the transition to fully Estonian-language education include Tartu Vocational Education Centre director and former Minister of Education Tõnis Lukas, linguist Mart Rannut, Tartu Health Care College rector Ulla Preeden, St Peter's Lutheran School of Tartu director Tarvo Siilaberg, and former editor-in-chief of the teachers' paper Õpetajate Leht Kalle Muuli.
The fields of national defence and foreign policy are represented by Minister of Defence Jüri Luik, ambassador and diplomat Tiit Naber, foreign policy expert Mart Nutt, Minister of Justice and former Minister of Defence Urmas Reinsalu, reserve officers Mart Luik and Raivo E. Tamm, and Estonian Defence League member Üllar Saaremäe.
Entrepreneurship, economy and finance, meanwhile, are represented by Minister of Finance and Olympic medalist Toomas Tõniste, former Minister of Finance Sven Sester, Finance Committee of the Riigikogu member Priit Sibul, and Pro Patria chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder.
Sester: Estonia needs stable development, not revolution
"Pro Patria believes that Estonia does not need a revolution, but rather stable development, the basis of which is an individual's freedom of choice, an independent legal system, a trustworthy state and international cooperation," Sven Sester, chairman of Pro Patria's extended board, said in a press release. "Pro Patria is a dependable and safe choice for people with a nationalistic mindset who believe in a free market economy and want a better future for their families and children."
Central to the party programme is the preservation of the Estonian language and culture, the welfare of Estonian families, people's freedom of choice, national security, and the stability of the economic environment, Sester said.
"The basis of Estonia's success and continuation is a single language space and an increase in the number of Estonians," he explained, adding that this was why family policy is prioritised in the programme and the full transition to a uniform Estonian-language education system has been set as a goal.
"It is important for Pro Patria that not only the state but also the people must be able to share their lives," Sester said. "The right of self-determination has brought Estonia forward, and this freedom must continue to be stood for. This is why Pro Patria wants to make the second pension pillar voluntary, and is against any kind of attempts to restrict people's right to make their own decisions."
The five primary pillars of Pro Patria's election programme include:
1. transitioning to a single Estonian-language education system beginning from kindergarten, which will ensure improved societal cohesion and improved future opportunities for Russian-speaking youth;
2. funded pension reform, which would include the second pension pillar being made voluntary in order to grant people greater freedom of choice and opportunities to shape their later lives;
3. ensuring the coping of families by raising the tax-free income from children to €600 per family with three or more children and applying tax-free income beginning with the first child already;
4. the implementation of tax peace in order to ensure a stable economic environment, ruling out any sort of tax hikes or new taxes;
5. an increase in defence spending to 2.5% of the GDP in order to strengthen Estonia's security and defence capability.
Editor: Aili Vahtla