Estonia 200, Richness of Life running reduced lists at Euro elections ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Estonia 200 leader Kristina Kallas.
Estonia 200 leader Kristina Kallas. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Two political parties which ran in the general election in March but received no seats, have stated that while they do not rule out running in the European Parliamentary elections in late May, they are not likely to run full nine-candidate lists.

The parties, Estonia 200 and Richness of Life, failed to gain any seats at the Riigikogu, though Estonia 200 was only slightly below the 5% threshold of votes required.

''Entering a full list is probably not realistic,'' Estonia 200 leader Kristina Kallas told ERR's Estonian news, adding that the party was still working on its roster.

Estonia is treated as a single electoral district in the European elections, with parties running a maximum of nine candidates. Seats are allocated, in accordance with EU rules, via a proportional representation system. In fact, the same modified d'Hondt system is used in the European elections as is used in the national and local elections.

Ms Kallas also noted the paucity of outdoor and TV electoral campaign advertising, this time around.

''We won't see any posters or TV ads – we're doing our campaigning in the streets and via social media,'' she said.

Outdoor advertising found Estonia 200 meeting controversy in January, when a poster, in both Estonian and Russian languages, which the party said was aimed at highlighting the issue of segregation between the two communities, appeared at a central Tallinn tram stop. The posters were subsequently removed.

Despite missing out on any Riigikogu seats, the party's performance does guarantee it €100,000 from state coffers for the next year, it is reported.

Richness of Life did not run a full list in the general election either, averaging around three to four candidates in each electoral district (parties could run up to 125 candidates in the March election).

Free Party not running at all

It so far has three candidates confirmed for the European elections too – co-founder Artur Talvik, general election ''prime minister candidate'' Mihkel Kangur, and Lauri Tõnspoeg. The party does not have a leader in the conventional sense.

Mr Talvik told ERR that whilst the party is not going to bust a gut to get more runners, it is still looking around.

''We would be happy to see women on our list, not only from our own party, but lso from outside it," he said.

The party only polled a little over one per cent in March, which was insufficient to receive any state subsidies. Each European Parliamentary seat requires a deposit of close to €3,000, Mr Talvik said.

The party, which follows a subsidiarity principle and development of digital democracy, would in any case rotate its MEPs, Mr Talvik said, in order to avoid stagnation.

Another party which failed to get any seats at the general election, the Free Party, has announced that it will not be running for the European Parliament this time. Current leader Kaul Nurm, its third leader in the space of a year, is additionally set to step down.

According to party board chair Märt Läänemets, poor performance at the general election was the main factor. The Free Party had previously held six Riigikogu seats; Artur Talvik is a former party leader.

Candidate registration for the European Elections is currently open, closing on 6 April. Most of the major parties have already nominated their lists.

The election itself takes place in Estonia on 26 May. It is still not clear whether Estonia will have six or seven seats up for grabs, depending on what happens regarding the UK's status in the EU. If the UK withdraws ahead of the election, 27 of its over 70 MEP spots will be redistributed amongst the EU 27 (though not evenly – Latvia and Lithuania are not due for any extra seats) including Estonia.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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