Politics

LIVE BLOG: Local Elections 2021

15.10.21 2021 ELECTIONS ... ERR News live-blogged the local elections Sunday, October 17, through to Monday, October 18, keeping all the important election-related news and results in one place.

How accurate were the local election forecasts for Tallinn?

18.10.21 NEWS ... The Center Party actually did better at Sunday's local government elections in Tallinn than had been predicted, even as the party lost its absolute majority, for the first time in a decade. Center also did better than it had at the 2019 Riigikogu elections.

Government press service refuses to disclose source of Kallas proposals

15.10.21 NEWS ... Even though Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said that her controversial proposals for new coronavirus measures came from a group of experts, the government's communication bureau has been unable to give ERR a straight answer in terms of the group's makeup and who came up with particular proposals.

Kiik does not support Kallas' tougher coronavirus measures

15.10.21 NEWS ... Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) told ERR in an interview that he does not support PM Kaja Kallas' tougher coronavirus restrictions. The minister shed light on differences of opinion between Center and Reform when it comes to solving the coronavirus crisis but did not say whether he will resign should hospitals become overwhelmed.

Reform presents Center with its coronavirus proposals

15.10.21 NEWS ... The Reform Party adds five proposals for containing the coronavirus and promoting vaccination to those of Center Party.

Party ratings: Reform slightly ahead of EKRE, Center support rises

15.10.21 2021 ELECTIONS ... Reform remains the most supported party in Estonia according to a recent poll, though maintains only a narrow lead over the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) nationwide. Center has made progress in third place, and widened the gap over Eesti 200, in fourth place.

Kersna, Soomere make new R&D council lineup

14.10.21 POLITICS ... The government has approved a new composition of a council which steers research, development and innovation in Estonia. The twelve-member body is split evenly between politicians, academics and business-people.

Prime minister: Why the majority should be restricted is a growing question

14.10.21 POLITICS ... Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) told ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK) in an interview Wednesday evening that while the majority in society have so far followed restrictions which curb their lifestyles, in order to protect the minority, now the latter can protect itself, by getting vaccinated. This raises the question as to why the majority should continue to be restricted, Kallas said. Kallas also denied rifts in communication on coronavirus strategy within the Reform/Center coalition, in the interview, as follows.

AK: Coalition reaches agreement on measures to ease soaring energy prices

14.10.21 POLITICS ... The coalition parties, Reform and Center, reached agreement in principle Wednesday on measures to alleviate soaring electricity, natural gas and household heating inflation, ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK) reported Wednesday. The government plans to half the electricity network fee by March and provide support to low-income households, though still needs confirmation from the competition authority watchdog that it can go ahead.

Minister: CO2 quota sales revenue one of electricity inflation measures

13.10.21 ECONOMY ... Finance Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus says a government relief package aimed at combating soaring energy costs in Estonia can be covered, at least in part, through surplus income from CO2 emission credits trading.

Anti-money laundering chief: Cryptocurrency licenses should be revoked

13.10.21 NEWS ... Cryptocurrency operating licenses in Estonia should be revoked, and the system rebuilt from scratch, chief of the money laundering bureau (RAB) Matis Mäeker told investigative weekly Eesti Ekspress. Failure to do so may result in another Danske-style financial scandal. The news comes amid revelations that despite a cull of license-holders in 2020, over 400 cryptocurreny operators are still active in Estonia.

Ratings: EKRE and Reform support almost equal

13.10.21 2021 ELECTIONS ... Support ratings for Estonia's major political parties has not changed significantly in the past week, according to one market research firm, while the recent rise in support for the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) has reversed slightly, while the Reform Party's has improved slightly.

Minister wants tenth of corporate income tax to go to local governments

12.10.21 NEWS ... Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center) has sent a proposal to the government to allocate 10 percent of the income tax of corporate dividends to local municipality governments, based on the number of people working in the local government's region. The amendment could be implemented in 2026 and bring local governments €53 million.

Prime minister: Unvaccinated people could be moved down surgery queue

12.10.21 POLITICS ... Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) supports implementing additional restrictions on unvaccinated people, such as moving unvaccinated people down the queue in case scheduled treatments are limited. She also wants the police to monitor mask-wearing more effectively.

President's security adviser: Karis is well-prepared

12.10.21 POLITICS ... President Alar Karis, who was sworn in as the next president of Estonia on Monday, is prepared for his role in domestic and foreign politics and upcoming meetings will strengthen his readiness even further, said presidential security adviser Liis Mure.

Finance ministry: August tax take up 7.1 percent on year

12.10.21 ECONOMY ... The Tax and Customs Board (MTA) took in €722 million in taxes for August, a 7.1 percent rise on year, and 11 percent more than planned for in the budget, the Ministry of Finance announced Tuesday.

Parties spend over €1.8 million on campaign advertising in Q3 2021

12.10.21 2021 ELECTIONS ... The six largest political parties spent almost €2 million on advertising in the third quarter of 2021 (Q3 2021), while a third of this sum went on the Conservative People's Party of Estonia's (EKRE) campaigning. As an election year, 2021 is necessarily going to see a higher level of spend, reaching a crescendo in the weeks before polling day.

Isamaa takes in nearly €190,000 in Q3 2021 donations

12.10.21 2021 ELECTIONS ... Isamaa raised €188,919 in donations in the third quarter of 2021 (Q3 2021), with Kaspar Kokk and Parvel Pruunsil the party's largest single donors. Isamaa, which is in opposition at the Riigikogu, amassed just under €350,000 overall in Q3 2021, the party reports.

Center Party takes in over €220,000 in Q3 2021 donations

12.10.21 2021 ELECTIONS ... The Center Party, in coalition with Reform, took in over €220,000 in donations in the third quarter of 2021 (Q3 2021), with a large proportion of this coming from party members and big-league business figures. The party also took in over €340,000 in state subsidies in the same time period.

Reform Party takes in over quarter-of-a-million euros' donations in Q3 2021

12.10.21 2021 ELECTIONS ... The Reform Party, the larger of the two parties in office, raised €257,976 in donations in the third quarter of this year (Q3 2021), the party reports. Total income from the party came to over three-quarters-of-a-million euros in Q3.

Kaljulaid leaves electricity amendments for new president to promulgate

12.10.21 POLITICS ... President Kersti Kaljulaid did not promulgate the Riigikogu-approved amendments to the Electricity Market Act before her term ran out on Monday. The amendments would allow for more woody biomass to be used in Narva power stations. Newly sworn-in president Alar Karis now has a week to decide if he will promulgate the amendments or send them back to the Riigikogu.

Eesti 200 receives €279,000 in donations

11.10.21 POLITICS ... Political party Eesti 200 collected a total of €279,056 in donations from 105 different supporters in the third quarter of 2021. Along with state support and membership fees, the party earned €307,730 in the previous quarter.

E-voting glitch which gave first 900 voters inaccurate information fixed

11.10.21 2021 ELECTIONS ... E-voting in Estonian local government council elections began on Monday morning at 9 a.m., but with the online voting application displaying an erroneous message to voters which stated that only a test vote had been cast. This glitch has now been removed and the 900 votes cast properly registered, the State Electoral Office (VVK) says, while those using the system can in any case re-cast their e-vote during advance voting.

Belarusian activists disappointed in football association ban

11.10.21 POLITICS ... Belarusian opposition activists in Estonia are disappointed that the Estonian Football Association did not let them take red and white flags and banners to A. Le Coq Arena on Friday for a football match between the two countries.

Social Democratic Party receives €116,000 in donations

11.10.21 NEWS ... The Social Democratic Party (SDE) collected a total of €116,259 in donations in the third quarter of 2021, a large part of which came from Estonian start-up entrepreneurs.

Party ratings: Support for coalition fallen since January

11.10.21 POLITICS ... Support for the current Reform/Center coalition has fallen since the beginning of the year, when the pairing entered office, according to a recent survey. Around half of respondents expressed criticism both of the government's performance, and of that of Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform).

Justice chancellor: Pension scheme legislation not unconstitutional

08.10.21 NEWS ... The legal framework governing the compensation of suspended contributions to the Estonian pensions system does not run counter to the constitution, Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise says, particularly in relation to the availability of timely information ahead of making a decision on whether to leave the so-called second pillar scheme.

Porto Franco development in Tallinn will be ready in 2023

08.10.21 NEWS ... A controversial real estate development in central Tallinn is on-track for completion in 2023, businessman Rauno Teder, heading up the project, says.

PPA makes border inspections more focused, reduced in volume

08.10.21 NEWS ... While numbers of people attempting to enter Estonia illegally, with a view to using the Port of Tallinn as a springboard to cross overseas to Finland and other northern European states, remains small, measures are still being considered ahead of any potential surge in numbers. At the same time, due to human resources issues, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) is having to work more efficiently.

Toomas Hendrik Ilves: Alexei Navalny and the West's Schröderizatsiya

07.10.21 OPINION ... Former President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves gave the laudatory speech at a ceremony in honor of Alexei Navalny, the Russian dissident and opposition leader imprisoned by Russian authorities since early on this year and recognized by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience. Navalny is 2021's recipient of the Knight of Freedom Award 2021. The text of Toomas Hendrik Ilves' speech marking the award and given at the Warsaw Security Forum on Wednesday evening, October 6, is as follows.

Outgoing presidential office director: Still over €1 million left in budget

07.10.21 NEWS ... The outgoing director of the Office of the President of the Republic of Estonia denies that the office has used up all its 2021 funds, adding that incoming president Alar Karis will not need to apply for additional money.

Bill tabled to decouple child maintenance rates from minimum wage levels

07.10.21 POLITICS ... Child maintenance rates will no longer be linked to the minimum wage, if a newly-drafted bill passes at the Riigikogu. This, it is hoped, will reduce the burden on those paying maintenance, following the recent raise in the minimum wage, and in turn should alleviate the large numbers of court cases – in the thousands per year – held in relation to maintenance.

Foreign minister attends meeting of OECD ministers

06.10.21 POLITICS ... Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) attended a ministerial meeting of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on Wednesday.

Urmas Sõõrumaa to consider stopping donations to political parties

06.10.21 NEWS ... Businessman and president of the Estonian Olympic Committee Urmas Sõõrumaa told ERR that he is considering stopping donations to political parties because of the state's handling of the healthcare sector. He added that he will direct his money to the Patarei fortress development.

'Election tourism' residence registrations in spotlight again

06.10.21 NEWS ... Although the practice of registering 'fictitious' places of residence ahead of local elections has been going on for years, candidates in the Tartu County town of Elva have now taken legal action to remove those who have allegedly done just that. According to a constitutional law expert, the regulations governing the topic should be reviewed.

Market research firms predict clear victory for Center in Tallinn

06.10.21 NEWS ... Surveys conducted by the three major market research companies are rarely similar regarding the results of the forthcoming local government elections - all three are stating that the Center Party will get 39 percent of the votes. If it's enough for getting the absolute majority in the council of 79 members, this is where the opinions differ.

Narva local elections candidates talk about the city's future

06.10.21 2021 ELECTIONS ... Combating corruption and a lack of transparency in Narva, particularly as €340-million in European Union money is due to reach the city in support of its transitioning away from dependence on the oil shale sector, were topics in focus at a recent panel discussion featuring candidates running in the local elections in the eastern border town on October 17.

Party ratings: EKRE widens support gap over Reform

06.10.21 POLITICS ... Support for the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) has risen to an all-time high, according to one market research company, and the party has cemented its position as most-supported in the latest weekly poll, ahead of the coalition Reform Party by a little over one percentage point. Elections to the local municipalities take place on October 17

Prime minister: Reform rating drop stems from government responsibility

05.10.21 NEWS ... Prime Minister and Reform Party chairman Kaja Kallas said a recent drop in support ratings for her party stems from carrying the responsibility of being in government.

IT Minister: Cybersecurity investments to match the new threat landscape

05.10.21 NEWS ... Minister of Foreign Trade and IT Andres Sutt (Reform) has made a call to action on cybersecurity aimed at creating a set methodology to assess the level of cybersecurity and set a benchmark for investments into it, along similar lines to NATO's 2-percent of GDP benchmark for member states' contributions.

Criminal proceedings against EKRE MP wound-up due to lack of evidence

04.10.21 NEWS ... Criminal proceedings against a Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) MP have been closed after the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) and the prosecutor's office found no substance in the charges. The MP, Anti Poolamets, says the accusation was false, likely done as an election stunt.

Estonian ID cards no longer valid for travel to and from the UK

04.10.21 POLITICS ... Starting last Friday, October 1, Estonian citizens are required to present their passport when entering the United Kingdom. The Estonian ID card, formerly acceptable as a travel document at the United Kingdom's borders, now no longer is, while those who entered Great Britain and Northern Ireland before October 1 also need to present their passport upon exiting the country.

Center Party looks likely to continue Sillamäe dominance after elections

04.10.21 2021 ELECTIONS ... The eastern Estonian town of Sillamäe looks set to remain a Center Party stronghold after the October 17 local elections and its candidates dominate the local electoral list. Not all those who ran for the party in the last local elections in 2017 are happy about this, however.

EU commission president to visit Estonia, approve covid recovery plan

02.10.21 CORONAVIRUS ... President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen will visit Estonia next week to approve the national coronavirus recovery plan financed by the European Union.

Ratings: Strong support for Center in Tallinn, but falling elsewhere

01.10.21 2021 ELECTIONS ... Support for the Center Party in Tallinn is almost as strong now as it was before the last local election in 2017, but there has been a significant decline outside of the capital, new polling from Kantar Emor shows.

Gallery: ETV local elections debate features leading Pärnu candidates

30.09.21 2021 ELECTIONS ... An offshore wind-farm in the Gulf of Riga, Rail Baltica and the expansion of the local airport could all bring benefits to the southwestern Estonian town of Pärnu, while at the same time conservation and environmental questions, and restarting tourism, were all on the table on Tuesday night's 'Valimisstuudio' debate, broadcast by ETV.

Political scientist: Reform's mistakes have been EKRE ratings gift

30.09.21 NEWS ... The apparent, recent rise in popularity of the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) has in part been helped along by mistakes on the part of the coalition Reform Party, political scientist Tõnis Saarts says.

SDE calls on president to reject 'wood-burning law'

29.09.21 POLITICS ... The opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) has opposed a law which would allow the burning of more woody biomass felled from Estonia's forests, in power stations in eastern Estonia. The party says the policy will harm the environment, means that consumers will effectively be subsidizing the practice and is unconstitutional.

Top officials must disclose lobbyist meetings over past quarter by Thursday

29.09.21 NEWS ... Top officials from state bodies have to make any meetings they have had with lobbyists over the past quarter public, by Thursday, September 30.

Minister: National museum staff won't be involved in appointing new chief

29.09.21 CULTURE ... Culture minister Anneli Ott (Center) has ruled out National Museum of Estonia (ERM) staff having a say in the choice of the museum's new director, to replace Alar Karis, who will be Estonia's next president.
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