Following the 2019 European Parliament elections in Estonia in late May, the fate of the candidate to come in seventh place, ie whether or not they will also serve as MEP, will depend on if and when the UK ultimately leaves the EU.
"Based on our current knowledge, Estonia will be electing seven MEPs," State Electoral Office spokesperson Kristi Kirsberg told ERR.
The European Parliament Election Act was amended in December to drop the exact number of MEPs to be elected; the law previously stated that six MEPs are elected in Estonia, but now states that the number of MEPs elected in Estonia is set out in EU legislation.
Likewise dropped from the legislation was the stipulation that candidate lists for the European Parliament elections could include up to 12 candidates, replaced with a provision stating that the number of candidates may exceed the number of MEPs to be elected by Estonia by two.
Ms Kirsberg stressed that there are currently two dates of key importance. Should the UK exit the EU on 29 March — as currently agreed — Estonia will gain a seventh seat in the European Parliament. Should Brexit occur somewhat later, but before 2 July, when the new European Parliament convenes for the first time, Estonia will likewise have seven MEPs.
"Should Brexit be delayed further or cancelled altogether, Estonia will be left with six seats," Ms Kirsberg said.
The 2019 European Parliament elections will take place on 26 May. President Kersti Kaljulaid proclaimed the elections on 22 February. Nomination of candidates for registration will begin on 27 March and conclude on 6 April at 18:00 EET, with deposit set at €2,700 per candidate.
Editor: Aili Vahtla