The newly-formed Estonia 200 party has announced its full candidate list for the March general election, which includes recently departed daily Postimees editor Lauri Hussar, public sector development manager Meelis Niinepuu, and party chair Kristina Kallas as well as former defence minister Margus Tsahkna.
The party held its pre-election conference in Tallinn on Sunday, where it had been due to announce its candidate list, but this was held off for a few days.
A fuller breakdown of the list demographic reveals 51 women and 74 men, some 30 people from the world of business, 10 cultural or creative figures, and eight medical professionals, as well as one sitting Riigikogu member (Margus Tsahkna).
Kristina Kallas and Lauri Hussar are running in Tallinn, in the City Centre, Pirita and Lasnamäe, and Mustamäe and Nõmme districts respectively. Mr Hussar had to step down as Postimees editor-in-chief at the beginning of the week on the issue of editorial independence. Concerns had also been raised that Postimees was the only major publication to run Estonia 200's manifesto after it was formed last summer, under Mr Hussar's editorship.
Not registered formally at electoral commission yet
Priit Alamäe is running in the Harju and Rapla Counties district, the most populous electoral ward, and Margus Tsahkna will run in Tartu City.
Other notable names on the Estonia 200 roster are former diplomats Kalev Stoicescu and Taavi Toom, musician, artist, writer and film-maker Mart Sander, and travel writer Epp Petrone.
The party has yet to present its list to the electoral commission, but is likely to do so soon. Most of the major parties have already presented theirs.
Estonia 200 follows a broadly economically liberal platform, and would reform the existing tax system, but not radically. It is also fairly socially liberal, and thus is likely to hive off votes both from Reform and to a lesser extent Pro Patria, and even from the Social Democratic Party. It regularly polls at or over the 5% threshold of support needed to obtain seats, in opinion polls. It was also at the centre of recent controversy surrounding a poster ad campaign which highlighted the issue of segregation between Estonian and Russian-speaking sections of society, ads which at a first glance could be interpreted as actually endorsing segregation.
Editor: Andrew Whyte