2019 Riigikogu Election

Ansip whitewashes party financing scandal, blames whistleblower instead

20.03.18 ... Former prime minister and long-time Reform Party chairman Andrus Ansip, now the EU's commissioner for the digital single market, has accused former Reform member and present-day Social Democrat Silver Meikar of having taken money for himself that was supposed to go to the party as a personal donation. Ansip also gave Reform's 2012 financing scandal a fresh coat of white paint.

Digest: As Reform sidelines its chairman, the party is back at its worst

20.03.18 ... A third of Estonians think that the government is doing a lousy job, which would suggest things are going well for the leading opposition party, daily Eesti Päevaleht wrote in its Tuesday editorial. But Reform is once again busy with itself, as Monday's vote on the party's candidate for the position of deputy speaker shows, and this doesn't bode well for next year's elections.

Tartu wants planning procedure for billion-euro pulp mill terminated

20.03.18 ... The city submitted a request to the government on Monday to terminate the procedure for a national designated spatial plan for the much-criticized Est-For pulp mill. The investment company wants to built the plant somewhere along the Emajõgi river, which according to the Tartu city council would seriously affect the city's economy and quality of life.

Reform's MPs vote to replace Hanno Pevkur with Kalle Laanet

19.03.18 ... The Reform Party's parliamentary group in the Riigikogu decided on Monday to support Kalle Laanet's candidacy for the position of deputy speaker. This means that the group has turned on party chairman Hanno Pevkur, who will have to make way for Laanet. The decision follows yet another weekend of bickering and conspiracy theories inside Estonia's leading opposition party.

Toomas Sildam: Pre-election outdoor political ad ban entirely pointless

19.03.18 ... Politicians, end the ban on outdoor political ads ahead of elections. The restriction that went into effect 13 years ago according to which outdoor ads may not be used during the 40 days immediately preceding elections is idiotic, meaningless and entirely unnecessary, writes journalist Toomas Sildam.

Reform's infighting flares up as party throws chairman under the bus

19.03.18 ... Internal struggles in the Reform Party are in full swing, with a new core forming around outgoing MEP Kaja Kallas (Reform/ALDE). Kallas is the only candidate in the party's upcoming internal elections, but this does not seem to be enough, as forces in the party are gearing up to completely neutralize outgoing chairman Hanno Pevkur.

March party ratings: Opposition Reform party remains most popular

18.03.18 ... Support for the opposition Reform Party, which rose to a record high at the start of the year, remained high in March as well, while the popularity of the coalition Center Party also saw an increase this month, it can be seen from the results of a survey commissioned by BNS and daily Postimees and conducted by Kantar Emor.

2019 European elections: Parties, candidates biding their time

16.03.18 ... Two months after the next Riigikogu elections in March 2019, the Estonian voters will also have to decide who they want to send to the European Parliament. While the parties are already gearing up for the Riigikogu election campaign, their approach regarding the European Parliament isn't yet clear.

Simson: Four-lane highway between Jõhvi, Narva to be built by 2025

16.03.18 ... According to Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kadri Simson (Center), the construction of a four-lane highway between the Northeastern Estonian cities of Jõhvi and Narva that has been on the agenda for over a decade will become a reality by around 2025, regional paper Põhjarannik writes.

Digest: Social media a loophole to covertly fund election campaigns

13.03.18 ... Though the funding of Estonia's political parties as well as their election campaigns is relatively strictly regulated, there is currently a loophole: anyone can pay and run political advertising on social media. While nothing is currently being done about it here, Latvia has begun addressing the issue.

Kert Valdaru named as Kallas' pick for new Reform secretary general

12.03.18 ... Kaja Kallas confirmed to ERR on Sunday evening that she will be recommending Kert Valdaru for the position of secretary general of the Reform party, and intends to introduce him to the party's parliamentary group on Monday already.

Reform dismisses party secretary general

09.03.18 ... The board of the Reform Party, which convened for a meeting on Friday, released Secretary General Tõnis Kõiv from his position.

Paper: Secretary-general to be replaced as Reform Party slips into the red

09.03.18 ... The Reform Party is about to let go its secretary-general, Tõnis Kõiv. Despite outgoing chairman Hanno Pevkur's assurances to the contrary, the Reform Party's finances seem to be in bad shape, which according to several party members is the reason for Kõiv's fall from grace, rather than giving the party's likely next leader, Kaja Kallas, the opportunity to appoint her own team.

Ossinovski: I didn't enter politics for a lifetime salary

05.03.18 ... Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski (SDE) said in an interview with business paper Äripäev that should the Social Democrats fail to get a good result in next year's Riigikogu elections, he will consider stepping down as chairman and making way for someone else.

Feature: Why the radical right is here to stay

04.03.18 ... If there is one thing we can take for granted after the rise of the radical right in Europe is that the populist parties are here to stay. To understand the exclusive relationship between the people and these factions, we have to look beyond the mere politics of scaremongering and unveil the asymmetries of a dislocated class conflict.

Center Party getting ready for Riigikogu election campaign

04.03.18 ... In a meeting on Saturday, the Center Party's extended leadership stressed that in a little over a year in government, it has broken many dogmas and political myths that after 15 years of Reform had defined Estonian politics, and announced a new vision for the country for the year 2040.

Ratas: Will Kaja Kallas bring back Reform's back room?

27.02.18 ... Prime Minister and Center Party Chairman Jüri Ratas is seeing signs that Kaja Kallas' election as Reform Party chair will once again strengthen the position of Kristen Michal and the party's so-called back room within the party.

Poll: SDE, IRL voters would prefer other party leaders for prime minister

27.02.18 ... Social Democratic Party (SDE) and Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) voters prefer the leaders of other parties to those of their own favorite parties, the results of a recent poll show.

Kaja Kallas only candidate for Reform chair

26.02.18 ... Kaja Kallas is the sole candidate registered as a candidate for chairperson of the Reform Party ahead of the party's April congress, party secretary general Tõnis Kõiv told ERR's radio news on Monday.

February party ratings: Support for coalition parties below 40 percent

26.02.18 ... For the second month in a row, the combined support for Estonia's three coalition parties remained below 40 percent, as the opposition Reform Party was rated the most popular among voters.

February ratings: Social Democrats' downward trend continues

23.02.18 ... The February party ratings show Center and Reform neck-and-neck at 27 percent, with junior partner IRL gaining one percent, and SDE dropping from 11 to 8 percent support. EKRE gained and now stand at 14 percent, while the Free Party's ratings are still below the election threshold.

Kallas to leave European Parliament this summer

22.02.18 ... MEP Kaja Kallas (Reform/ALDE) has submitted an application for the position of party chair to Reform Party headquarters. She also plans to leave the European Parliament this summer.

Paper: Group planning on forming new political party

19.02.18 ... A group of well-known Estonian specialists that has been meeting in recent months may have a new political party in the works.

Parties all want simpler income tax, disagree on revenue sources

16.02.18 ... Though the parties all support a simplification of the current income tax scheme, they disagree on how to keep up the state's revenue. While the Reform Party is in favor of granting everyone a tax-free income of €6,000 a year without changing the tax rate, the Social Democrats in this case might want to increase it.

Turbulent year ahead as Reform and Center get ready for election campaign

14.02.18 ... The campaign leading up to the March 2019 Riigikogu elections will be turbulent. For the first time the Reform Party and the Center Party are both contenders for the government's leadership, and the fate of the smaller parties is all but certain, writes ERR's Toomas Sildam.

Opinion: Border infrastructure shouldn't be part of political campaigns

05.02.18 ... Estonia no doubt needs a properly equipped eastern border, as it is also on the external border of the European Union and NATO. But the effort to build it can't be used in political campaigns. Internal security and national defense can't turn into a score sheet for the political parties, ERR's Toomas Sildam writes.

January party ratings: Support for Center, Reform tied

01.02.18 ... Support for the coalition Center Party and opposition Reform Party has tied, while support for the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) has hit the critical election threshold, it appears from the results of a nationwide poll commissioned by ERR and conducted by Turu-uuringute AS.

SDE's Ossinovski: Absence from no confidence vote no expression of trust

31.01.18 ... In an interview with ERR's Toomas Sildam published on Wednesday, the leader of the Social Democrats (SDE), Jevgeni Ossinovski, explained the party's decision not to participate in the vote against Justice Minister Urmas Reinsalu. Ossinovski made it very clear that their stance had nothing to do with actual trust in Urmas Reinsalu.

Center, IRL support extra pension boost, SDE against it

31.01.18 ... In addition to the planned indexing of pensions, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) believes that pensions should also be given an extra boost of €60-70. While Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder supports the idea, Social Democratic Party (SDE) chairman and Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski is not in favor of the hike.

Reform Party chairman: Coalition has no chance to succeed

28.01.18 ... The coalition of Center Party, Social Democrats, and IRL was doomed from the start because it was based on a "secret deal" to oust the Reform Party, not a realization of the people's will, chairman of the opposition Reform Party Hanno Pevkur said commenting the January party ratings.

EKRE chairman: Special services covertly influencing Estonian politics

24.01.18 ... In an interview with ERR earlier this week, chairman of the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) Mart Helme said that the country's intelligence services are meddling with the political parties as well as with elections, and pointed to what he calls the "deep state" that covertly influences Estonia's politics.

Justice minister likely to face no-confidence motion soon

19.01.18 ... The Reform Party announced on Friday that they intend to bring a motion of no confidence against Justice Minister Urmas Reinsalu (IRL) if he doesn't resign by Monday. The step follows Reinsalu's statement earlier this week that he regrets having condemned violence against women. Several MPs of the three coalition parties said on Thursday that they intend to join.

Blue Awakening: The next generation of Estonian nationalists

15.01.18 ... Nov. 30, 2017 marked the fifth anniversary of the youth organization of the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE), Sinine Ӓratus ("Blue Awakening"). Blue Awakening was founded and is currently led by Tartu city councillor and EKRE board member, Ruuben Kaalep. Although EKRE is a relatively new party, founded only in 2012, they are growing rapidly and have come in third in Estonia's monthly party ratings.

Ratas: Reform Party trying to cover up internal tensions

10.01.18 ... With the 2019 elections approaching, the Reform Party is obviously getting nervous, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said on Wednesday. He added that Reform is trying to hide its own internal tensions in the party with the opposition's motions of no confidence.

Marina Kaljurand considering going into politics, to decide later this year

10.01.18 ... Former minister of foreign affairs and 2016 presidential candidate Marina Kaljurand is considering going into politics. Kaljurand told ERR on Tuesday that she'll decide towards the end of summer or early in the fall this year whether or not to join a party.

Kallas accuses Pevkur of trying to thwart her candidacy in 2019 elections

10.01.18 ... Kaja Kallas (Reform/ALDE) told weekly Eesti Ekspress that Reform Party chairman Hanno Pevkur had tried to worsen her chances in the 2019 Riigikogu elections by moving her to the party list of another electoral district.

IRL to weigh changing party name

26.12.17 ... According to Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder, there has been talk for some time within the party about the need to change its name, and the matter needs to be discussed during the upcoming year, ahead of the 2019 Riigikogu elections.

Reform Party to hold extraordinary elections in April

20.12.17 ... The Reform Party board decided on Wednesday to hold an extraordinary general assembly in April, where the party is to elect a new chairman and board.

Kaja Kallas to run for Reform Party chair

15.12.17 ... MEP and Reform Party deputy chairwoman Kaja Kallas confirmed to ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Friday that she has accepted the invitation to run for chairwoman of the Reform Party.

Opinion digest: Reform Party cornered, Kaja Kallas best way out

14.12.17 ... Reactions to Reform Party chairman Hanno Pevkur's decision to back Kaja Kallas in the next internal elections in the party have been mixed, though there is one thing everybody seems to agree on: she has been far enough away from Estonian politics for a long enough time to make her a choice a lot of people can live with.

Opinion digest: Why Reform needs to elect Kaja Kallas chairwoman

13.12.17 ... Reform Party member and former MP Jaanus Rahumägi wrote in a piece for weekly Eesti Ekspress published on Wednesday that he sees backing Kaja Kallas as the party's first chairwoman as the only way to get the party out of its current infighting, and that Pevkur's chairmanship has been under attack from the moment he was elected.

Pevkur to back Kaja Kallas in Reform Party chairman elections

13.12.17 ... Reform Party chairman Hanno Pevkur has announced he will support MEP Kaja Kallas (Reform/ALDE) in the party's internal elections in January. At the same time, Pevkur also criticized Siim Kallas and Kristen Michal for their "plotting and scheming" to trigger a leadership change.

Interview: Siim Kallas on ambitions, Estonian politics, and EU presidency

09.12.17 ... Following the local elections in October this year, Reform Party founder, former prime minister, EU commissioner, and presidential candidate Siim Kallas took on the job of municipal mayor of Viimsi, a community on the outskirts of Tallinn. In his interview with ERR's Toomas Sildam, Kallas talks about local government, his party, the EU presidency, and perspectives in Estonian politics.

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