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Reform Party Wins Elections, Coalition Holds

Photo: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Any speculation that Estonia's ruling centre-right government would have trouble surviving this year's parliamentary elections was extinguished when both members of its ruling coalition, Reform and IRL, scored as well as expected in the March 6 vote.

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip's Reform party picked up two additional seats in the nation's 101-member Parliament, giving it a total of 33 seats, while its coalition partner IRL gained four seats to end up with 23.

The biggest gain however was seen by the Social Democrats, whose representation in Parliament jumps from 10 to 19 seats.

Meanwhile the government's fiercest challenger, the Centre Party, saw a slight power slip, dropping from 29 to 26 seats.

Other losers were the People's Union and the Green Party, neither of which reached the 5 percent minimum required to maintain their representation in Parliament. Neither did any of the independents gather enough votes to make it to Toompea Hill for the next four years.

In terms of points, the Reform Party scored 28.6 percent of the votes and IRL 20.5 percent. These are very close to estimates from TNS Emor surveys in late February, which had put support for the two government parties at 28 percent and 21 percent respectively.

The same poll predicted that 25 percent of voters would support the opposition Centre Party, whereas the reality was somewhat lower at 23.3 percent. It was the reverse situation for the Social Democrats, who scored 17.1 percent of the vote after polls suggested they would pick up only 15 percent.

Of the 912,565 eligible voters, 62.9 percent cast ballots, putting voter turnout one percent above what it was in the 2007 parliamentary elections. Turnout was highest in Tallinn at 70 percent, and lowest in Ida-Viru County where just 55.4 percent of the electorate took part.

Despite Reform's win, the single candidate who received the most votes was Centre Party Chairman Edgar Savisaar. The more than 23,000 votes he garnered in his district beats the previous all-time record of 22,556 set by Prime Minister Ansip in 2007. This time around Ansip received only about 18,200 votes in his district.



Steve Roman

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