Isamaa/Pro Patria is the latest party to officially present its full candidate list for the March election, its principal members proceeding as per tradition up the hill to the electoral commission office on Toompea.
Party leader Helir-Valdor Seeder was joined by deputy leaders Viktoria Ladõnskaya-Kubits, Siim Valmar Kiisler and Andres Metsoja, party council chair and former finance minister Sven Sester, party association managers Tarmo Kruusimäe, Riina Solman and Ann Räämet, and party youth leader Karl Sander Kase as the full, 125-candidate list was handed over.
''As always, Pro Patria's strength lies in its broad base of candidates, including capable local government leaders, lawyers, entrepreneurs, cultural figures and people from other walks of life,'' Mr Seeder said, noting that the party's list cut across generations and brought established figures and newcomers alike to the polls.
Helir-Valdo Seeder is overall number one candidate for the party, with defence minister Jüri Luik in second spot and Russian-Estonian Viktoria Ladõnskaya-Kubits in third place.
Parties run lists of candidates ranked in order across all 12 electoral districts. If the full quota of spots is met, which Pro Patria and all the major parties have little difficulty doing, the total comes to 125, ie. a little over 10 per district on average.
''All 125 candidates bring Pro Patria values to the elections and are ready to do their best in implementing the party's manifesto and worldview,'' Mr Seeder added.
Isamaa/Pro Patria, which was rebranded last year and changed its name from IRL, is currently one of two junior coalition parties, a position which it has occupied since April 2015. Its position is conservative, centre-right to right wing on most issues. Removing the so-called ''second pillar' of pension contributions, which is a mandatory system of contributions from an employee's salary, is one of the party's pet projects.
The party's support has rallied somewhat in recent months; having been perilously close to the 5% threshold needed to obtain Riigikogu seats, it currently runs at 8% according to the most recent surveys. The party was at the centre of a split in the government on the issue of the UN Global Compact on Migration, which it opposed, in November. It holds some key ministerial posts, however (government ministers do not sit at the Riigikogu), with justice (Urmas Reinsalu), defence (Jüri Luik), finance (Toomas Tõniste) to its name, as well as providing the environment (Marko Pomerants) and social protection (Kaia Iva) ministers. It has one MEP (Tunne Kelam).
Editor: Andrew Whyte