SDE makes electoral history, running more women than men for EU parliament

Marina Kaljurand, also a former ambassador to Moscow, is running in the number one spot for SDE at the European elections.
Marina Kaljurand, also a former ambassador to Moscow, is running in the number one spot for SDE at the European elections. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Social Democratic Party (SDE) has unveiled its candidate list for May's European Parliamentary elections, with former foreign minister Marina Kaljurand heading up a list which contains more women candidates, than men, an Estonian first, BNS reports.

Estonia is treated as a single electoral district in the European elections, unlike the general election where there are 12 districts, but the same modified d'Hondt system of proportional representation is used, so parties run lists with candidates in rank order. Once a candidate passes the threshold number of votes to gain a seat, the excess is passed on down to the next candidate on the list. Similarly, if an elected candidate decides not to take up their seat, or cannot, it passes down to the next on the list.

The maximum number of candidates on a European elections list is nine, with most of the parties taking advantage of that.

The rest of SDE's list is split 50:50 by gender. Former foreign minister Sven Mikser is in the number two position, followed by sitting MEP Ivari Padar, former speaker of the house Eiki Nestor, former interior minister Katri Raik, and three more women: Triin Toomesaar, former MEP Marianne Mikko, and Monika Haukanomm. Indrek Tarand, a sitting MEP (independent), who ran for SDE in the general election, rounds off the list.

Thus SDE has more women candidates (five) than men (four). However, since there are over half a dozen parties running for either six or seven MEP seats (depending on what happens with the pending UK withdrawal from the EU), sufficient votes are not likely to percolate their way lower down the SDE electoral list.

"Our list is strong and professional,'' said SDE leader Jevegeni Ossinovski, on presenting it on Saturday.

''The list is topped by two former foreign ministers and more than half the candidates have have borne the responsibility of government minister. Three candidates have previous experience from work in the European Parliament. I'm especially glad that for the first time in Estonia's history, a political party is submitting a list of candidates which is led by a woman and in which female candidates are in majority. And of course that party is the Estonian Social Democratic Party," Mr Ossinovski continued.

Under European Parliamentary rules, MEPs must sit with one of several political groupings. SDE MEPs have generally sat with the Party of European Socialists (PES).

SDE had one MEP elected at the last elections in 2014, Marju Lauristin. Ms Lauristin stepped down and was replaced by Ivari Padar, in November 2017.

That SDE was to run a list of such a makeup is no big surprise; the party had announced a provisional list of 11 in mid-March.

Estonia 200 and the Reform Party are both running four women candidates at the 2019 European elections. Isamaa and Centre are running two apiece, and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), and Richness of Life (the latter is not running a full list), are going with all-male lists.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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