19.10.18 ... Speaking in an interview with ERR, Estonian Greens chairwoman Züleyxa Izmailova said that the party will confirm its list of candidates for the 2019 Riigikogu elections on 1 December.
19.10.18 ... Political scientist and analyst Tõnis Saarts of Tallinn University told ERR that though once a party and gearing up for the March 2019 general election, Estonia 200 may have the potential to attract protest voters, they are unlikely to find too many backers among the voter base of the established parties.
19.10.18 ... Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) currently enjoys greater support among voters than his party does. The leader of the opposition Reform Party, Kaja Kallas, is lagging behind: a new survey commissioned by daily Eesti Päevaleht shows Ratas at 32%, far ahead of Kallas' 17. Kallas has also lost some 10% of support with her own party's voters.
18.10.18 ... Kristina Kallas, chairwoman of the Estonia 200 group that has announced its intention to run as a new political party in the 2019 general election, said that cooperation with the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) is out of the question, as this would require Estonia 200 to abandon its liberal values.
18.10.18 ... While in September support among Russian speakers of the governing Centre Party dropped to 65%, the party's lowest approval of the last few years, in October it has picked up again, now at 74%. The party is popular again in Ida-Viru County as well.
18.10.18 ... One of the Estonia 200 group's founders, historian and director of the University of Tartu's Narva college Kristina Kallas, announced on Thursday that she is planning to run for the position of chairwoman once Estonia 200 is properly registered as a political party.
18.10.18 ... While two new budding parties were not included in the latest party ratings survey, sociologist Juhan Kivirähk calculated that in the 2019 Riigikogu elections, Estonia 200's support would total 9% and the Biodiversity Party's 1%. Estonia 200 would steal the most votes from the Reform Party, but also from the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and the Centre Party.
18.10.18 ... This month, the Centre Party and Reform Party, both of whom are vying for a win in the 2019 Riigikogu elections next spring, saw the biggest increases in support, it appears from the results of a nationwide poll commissioned by ERR and conducted by Turu-uuringute AS.
17.10.18 ... While leading politicians of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) continue to cultivate xenophobic policy, the party's voters are members of Estonian society, which is why cooperation with the party cannot be ruled out, said Raimond Kaljulaid (Centre) in a live interview on ERR's online broadcast Otse uudistemajast.
16.10.18 ... Despite losing in the party's internal elections to Mart Saarso, Tallinn City Council member Moonika Helme will head into the 2019 Riigikogu elections as the top Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) candidate in the electoral district of Lääne, Hiiu and Saare Counties.
14.10.18 ... In a speech made at the Centre Party congress on Saturday, Prime Minister and party chairman Jüri Ratas said that in order to build a fair country with a strong middle class, the Centre Party will need a convincing win at the upcoming Riigikogu elections next March.
12.10.18 ... Estonia's political parties have published financial information, giving a snapshot of their situation ahead of the March 2019 general election, as reported by daily Postimees.
12.10.18 ... Former prime minister Andrus Ansip (Reform) says ruling Centre Party has caused a level of tax chaos the next government will have difficulty resolving.
11.10.18 ... Mart Saarso, a member of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) who is running for election to the Riigikogu next March, called Tallinn City Council chairman Mihhail Kõlvart (Centre) an Asian who is unfit for the hall at City Council.
11.10.18 ... Daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL) has lost an appeal on a lawsuit brought against it by Centre Party MP Oudekki Loone, after the Supreme Court upheld the decision in favour of Ms. Loone and threw out EPL's appeal.
11.10.18 ... Figures for party donations in the third quarter of 2018 (Q3 2018) give an opportunity to compare the finances of all the major political parties in the lead in to the 2019 election. Reform received the highest donations at a reported €120,389, with Isamaa/Pro Patria in second place at €103,170. Top donors included Vjatšeslav Leedo (to Reform) and the Sõnajalg brothers (to both Pro Patria and SDE).
10.10.18 ... Estonia's two newest would-be political parties need to get moving in finding members, if they're to meet the legal requirement for registration as a party in time for the March 2019 general election.
10.10.18 ... "A just state for all," (Estonian: ''Õiglane Riik Kõgile,") is the Centre Party's new election slogan, unveiled by party leader and prime minister Jüri Ratas on Wednesday.
10.10.18 ... Reform leader Kaja Kallas is buoyant about the party winning both the general election in March 2019, and the European election in May.
10.10.18 ... Aivar Riisalu, who is in charge of compiling the chapter on national defence in the Centre Party's party platform ahead of the 2019 Riigikogu elections, told ERR on Monday that the party's central promise in that area will be the restoration of militarised border patrol utilising conscripts fresh out of basic training. The announcement sparked widespread criticism.
10.10.18 ... As part of its party platform ahead of the 2019 Riigikogu elections, the Pro Patria Party plans to promise increasing defence spending in Estonia from 2.16% to 2.5% of the GDP. Other parties, however, are skeptical of the idea.
09.10.18 ... With two elections happening in Estonia next spring, at the national level in March followed by European elections in May, questions about how the system works and who can vote are inevitable. The electoral system in Estonia is not especially complicated, and similar to those of many other European nations. However it is radically different from those in the UK or US for instance, so let's take an overview, focusing primarily on the general election to the Riigikogu.
09.10.18 ... Political scientist Tõnis Saarts does not consider it likely that MP Tiina Kangro's recent departure from the Pro Patria parliamentary group will break up the ruling government coalition, daily Postimees reports.
09.10.18 ... Claims that the opposition in the Riigikogu will hinder the ruling coalition now the latter is in a minority have been met with a certain amount of derision by a leading member of the opposition, Kristen Michal (Reform), who roasted each of the three coalition parties, the Centre Party, the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and Isamaa/Pro Patria in turn.
08.10.18 ... Whereas prime minister and coalition majority party leader Jüri Ratas (Centre) and minority coalition Isamaa/Pro Patria party leader Helir-Valdor Seeder were sanguine on the government's ability to weather the storm following the departure of an MP, Tiina Kangro, from Pro Patria and therefore the coalition's voting group on Monday, tipping the balance of power away from the coalition for the first time, foreign minister Sven Mikser of the Social Democratic Party has taken a less optimistic line.
08.10.18 ... Isamaa/Pro Patria leader Helir-Valdor Seeder says the coalition government needs to exercise vigilance when voting in the Riigikogu, following the departure of MP Tiina Kangro from the Pro Patria voting bloc on Monday.
08.10.18 ... Following independent MP Tiina Kangro's announcement that she was quitting the Pro Patria parliamentary group, leaving the government coalition with just 50 seats in the 101-seat Riigikogu, Prime Minister and Centre Party chairman Jüri Ratas on Monday said that the coalition would get by with 50 votes as well, and that the state budget currently in the works would be confirmed.
08.10.18 ... Tiina Kangro, who was not a member of the Pro Patria party but belonged to the party's parliamentary group, has quit the latter, leaving the ruling government coalition with just 50 seats in the 101-seat Riigikogu.
08.10.18 ... It is hard to imagine the Estonian political scene without the Centre Party as a major player; perhaps Isamaa/Pro Patria (who have long been in the doldrums) are the only other party seeming to be a natural, if rather decrepit piece of furniture. The 2019 elections will be make or break time for Centre, however. Its leader, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, has turned out to be a mature, likeable and seemingly competent cove. But if the seeping Russian support is not replenished with replacements from the Estonian-speaking populace, the party will find itself out of office come March.
07.10.18 ... Not quite a political party yet, the Estonia 200 group met on Saturday to discuss a potential party platform for the upcoming hot phase of the campaign for the Riigikogu election on 3 March next year. Estonia 200 announced earlier this year that if they can get the required 500 members together, they will register as a political party.
05.10.18 ... Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) disagrees with Pro Patria chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder, who floated the idea on Thursday to make mandatory payments into Estonia's second pillar pension fund voluntary, and eventually abolish it completely. Any such step would make a tax hike inevitable, Ratas argued.
04.10.18 ... ERR's Estonian-language online news portal has access to an overview of where the protection money* of each of the three coalition parties is to be invested. The Pro Patria Party is far and away funding the greatest number of investments at 64, while the Centre Party is to fund 17 and the Social Democratic Party (SDE) 10 investments.
04.10.18 ... Speaking with ERR, Pro Patria Party chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder said that making the second pension pillar, which is currently mandatory for all persons born in 1983 or later, voluntary will be one of his party's most important campaign promises. According to Seeder, however, this would only be an intermediate step as the goal would be to abolish the second pillar altogether.
04.10.18 ... In an opinion piece published in daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL), Kätlin Pääro, head of the secretariat of the Centre Party parliamentary group, asks how it is possible that Estonia as an e-state, dogged as it perpetually is by lengthy waiting lists to see a specialist, still lacks centralised, digital patient registration.
03.10.18 ... Ahead of the 2019 Riigikogu elections next March, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) is promising they would take out billions of euros in loans in order to reduce people's tax burdens as well as build more four-lane highways and a bridge to Saaremaa.
02.10.18 ... Every year, the Riigikogu allocates a set amount of money for "local investments." Nicknamed "protection money," it is typically used to fund hand-picked projects of Estonia's various political parties and acts as a sort of grease leading up to the vote on the budget for the coming year. Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) defended the practice on Tuesday.
02.10.18 ... In an opinion piece published in daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL), Mart Helme, chairman of the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), finds it unsurprising that Centre Party MEP Yana Toom would want cultural autonomy for Estonia's Russian-speaking population and invites those interested in it to either assimilate or move to Russia.
01.10.18 ... Just two days after announcing her intention to join the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and run as a member thereof in the 2019 Riigikogu elections next March, singer and former Riigikogu MP Siiri Sisask announced on Monday that she would not run in the elections as a member of the party after all.
01.10.18 ... Kaul Nurm, who was elected chairman of Estonia's opposition Free Party on Sunday, said that the party has a real chance of winning twelve seats in next year's parliamentary election on 3 March.
30.09.18 ... Most of the major political parties in Estonia held their extended board meetings on Saturday, at various venues. Recurring themes included tax reform and where tax revenues might derive, Estonia's future development as a free society or otherwise, and the almost universally panned alcohol excise hikes. Battle lines seemed to be quite clearly drawn between some parties, too. Here is a summary, party-by-party.
29.09.18 ... Speaker of parliament Eiki Nestor (SDE) expressed a hope on Friday that at least five different world views be represented at the Riigikogu after the general election in march.
28.09.18 ... Yana Toom MEP (Centre) said on Friday that consideration of cultural autonomy for the Russian-speaking population in Estonia is crucial, going against the grain of many other political parties, who favour Estonian-language education, amongst other integration policies.
27.09.18 ... Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre), Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu (Pro Patria) and Minister of Finance Toomas Tõniste (Pro Patria) at Thursday's government press conference criticised an idea proposed by opposition Reform Party chairwoman Kaja Kallas to eliminate the social tax in Estonia.
26.09.18 ... Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) leader Mart Helme stated on Wednesday a willingness to be in government with either Reform or Centre, albeit with strings attached. He also spoke on topics affecting the Russian-speaking populace: education and Estonian-Russian relations, as well as potential EKRE Russian-speaking voters.
25.09.18 ... Leader of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) Mart Helme says there is no chance of his party being in government with the Social Democratic Party (SDE), the only other party to have seen a growth in support in recent months.
24.09.18 ... Whilst ruling Centre Party has lost support this year with its traditional stronghold of Russian-speaking voters, it has gained ground with Estonian-speaking voters, polls say.
24.09.18 ... The nascent Estonia 200 political movement is to establish a shadow cabinet on Monday which is to meet every week and promises to offer its own vision of reforms necessary for Estonia's development.
24.09.18 ... While the opposition Reform Party remains the most popular political force in Estonia, it has lost significant ground to the coalition Centre Party, according to the results of a survey commissioned by BNS and daily Postimees and conducted by Kantar Emor in mid-September.
21.09.18 ... Former Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas (Reform) seems to have backtracked on an earlier plan to run in the Kesklinn, Lasnamäe and Pirita district of Tallinn at the next general election.
21.09.18 ... TalTech scientists have calculated the administrative cost per electronic vote in Estonia. At €2.32, it is by far the cheapest option, followed by €4.37 per vote cast on election day, €6.24 per early vote in the country's county centres, and a whopping €20.41 per vote cast at a local polling division.