Candidate-announcing season continues apace in the run up to the March general election, with the Free Party officially presenting its full candidate list to the voting commission on Wednesday.
The 125-strong list sees party leader Kaul Nurm in the prime spot, MP Tiina Kangro in second and former leader and chair of the parliamentary group Andres Herkel in third.
Kaul Nurm had previously expressed his appraisal of the party's chances, which he primarily sees as being one of a king-maker role amongst the right-of-centre parties at the Riigikogu.
Free's manifesto includes cutting personal income tax right down to 12%, with a business equity tax aimed at making up the shortfall. Free saw two changes of leadership in 2018 and at one time its membership was dangerously close to the minimum 500 to be legally registered as a party. Popular support runs at just 1% according to the most recent research; parties must meet a threshold of 5% of the vote to obtain any Riigikogu seats. The party currently has six seats.
Parties run lists with candidates ranked in order, in each of the 12 electoral districts (see below). Any excess votes which candidates higher up on the list receive when clinching a seat are redistributed to those lower on the list via the d'Hondt system of proportional representation.
The breakdown of Free Party number one candidates by county is as follows.
- Tallinn: Haabersti, Kristiine, North Tallinn – Andres Herkel
- Tallinn: Lasnamäe and Pirita – Neeme Kuningas, a theatre producer.
- Tallinn: Mustamäe and Nõmme – Ain Lutsepp.
- Harju and Rapla Counties – Juku-Kalle Raid, a journalist.
- Tartu city – Kuido Nõmm, head of Tartu University's emergency department.
- Võru, Valga and Põlva Counties – Kaul Nurm.
- Pärnu County - Toomas Alatalu, a historian.
- Hiiu-, Lääne- and Saare- Counties – Tiina Kangro.
- Lääne-Viru County – Pavo Raudsepp.
- Ida-Viru County – Jane Snaith (formerly of RÜE, see below).
- Järva and Viljandi Counties – Ain Ostra.
- Jõgeva and Tartu Counties – Elo Lutsepp, deputy chair of the party.
Former leader of the near-defunct right wing People's Unity Party (RÜE) Pavo Raudsepp, running in Lääne-Viru County for Free as noted, had earlier wanted to form an alliance of right wing parties with Free, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and/or Isamaa/Pro Patria, but it came to nought.
Centre, Reform, SDE and EKRE have all officially registered their candidate lists already; most other parties are likely to do so this week or even today.
The election is on 3 March.
Editor: Andrew Whyte