Centre Party proposes overhaul of electoral districts ({{commentsTotal}})

Polling place in Kärdla, Hiiumaa.
Polling place in Kärdla, Hiiumaa. Source: Tarmo Maiberg/ERR

The council of the Centre Party, the senior member of the current ruling coalition, decided on Saturday to support reorganizing Estonia's current electoral districts to ensure that Estonian citizens are more equally represented in the Riigikogu.

The Centre Party council adopted a statement according to which, as the prime minister's party as well as while part of the opposition, the party has contributed to ensuring that everyone in Estonia has a chance at a good life.

According to the statement, in terms of balanced regional policy, Estonia is undoubtedly headed in the right direction, ensuring that jobs and public services remain available outside of larger cities as well, allowing people to start families. The demographic situation in Estonia has changed over the years, however, and this must be taken into account.

The party council noted that now would be a good time to reorganize the country's electoral districts so that all Estonians would be granted more equal representation in the Riigikogu. In 1995, the number of mandates distributed according to the size of the electoral district was between 8 and 11. Currently, however, that number varies from 5 to 15. This situation has also been highlighted by the chancellor of justice, who proposed reorganizing electoral districts in order to make them equal in terms of numbers of voters.

Currently, Estonia is divided into 12 electoral districts as follows:

-Electoral District 1: Haabersti, Põhja-Tallinn, Kristiine Districts of Tallinn (10 mandates)
-Electoral District 2: Central Tallinn, Lasnamäe, Pirita Districts of Tallinn (13 mandates)
-Electoral District 3: Mustamäe, Nõmme Districts of Tallinn (8 mandates)
-Electoral District 4: Harju, Rapla Counties (15 mandates)
-Electoral District 5: Hiiu, Lääne Counties (6 mandates)
-Electoral District 6: Lääne-Viru County (5 mandates)
-Electoral District 7: Ida-Viru County (7 mandates)
-Electoral District 8: Järva, Viljandi Counties (7 mandates)
-Electoral District 9: Jõgeva, Tartu Counties (7 mandates)
-Electoral District 10: Tartu (8 mandates)
-Electoral District 11: Võru, Valga, Põlva Counties (8 mandates)
-Electoral District 12: Pärnu County (7 mandates)

In order to initiate dialogue in society on the topic, the Centre Party council has proposed the following changes:

-increase number of electoral districts in Tallinn from three to four: Haabersti and Põhja-Tallinn; Kristiine, Pirita and Central Tallinn; Mustamäe and Nõmme; Lasnamäe
-make Harju County a separate electoral district
-include Rapla County in same district as Hiiu, Saare and Lääne Counties
-merge Lääne-Viru and Ida-Viru Counties into one district

"Such a change would not give an advantage to any political powers, and the electoral system would not be altered significantly," the statement reads. "It would, however, render electoral districts more proportional, grant candidates more equal opportunities, and give various regions' voters a stronger voice in the Riigikogu. The Centre Party will submit a proposal to political powers to reach a consensus in changing the electoral districts, and to reach a decision before the next Riigikogu elections [in 2023]."

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Editor: Aili Vahtla



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