Police in Estonia are of the opinion that when the ban on outdoor political advertising enters into effect on 23 January ahead of the 3 March Riigikogu elections, political parties may not use this time to begin publicly advertising their candidates for the European Parliament elections taking place in May.
The elections taking place this spring are unique in that two major elections are taking place within a span of just over two and a half months. The active campaign period for the Riigikogu elections begins on 23 January, and with it comes a ban on outdoor political advertising.
"We are of the opinion that outdoor political advertising for other elections also counts as outdoor political advertising," Siiri Pars, elections expert at the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) told ERR on Monday. "An exception is outdoor political advertising for the European Parliament elections for independent and party candidates who are not running in the Riigikogu elections."
This means that for example Andrus Ansip (Reform), who is not running in the Riigikogu elections but is running for European Parliament, could run outdoor ads even during the general ad ban period.
In order to forestall any issues, the PPA at a State Electoral Office-organised meeting explained to representatives of political parties and election coalitions their approach in applying the outdoor advertising ban.
In cases of infringement of the prohibition, the PPA reserve the right to file an injunction and demand that the infringement be terminated. In the case of non-compliance, police have the right to levy a fine or use substitutive enforcement, the costs of which are to be compensated by the infringing party. Police may also launch a misdmeanour procedure pursuant to the section of the Penal Code addressing unlawful campaigning.
Editor: Aili Vahtla