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Estonian Parliamentary Election Preview

March 4, 2011

Estonians will hit the polls Sunday to vote in parliamentary elections. Here’s a brief preview of what to expect:

Election Basics Basics

  • 101 members are elected through an open-list proportional representation system to serve 4-year terms.
  • 12 Multi-member constituencies voting with a representation ranging from 6-12 seats.
  • There is a 5% threshold to earn seats.
  • 912,565 out of 1,291,170 are register.

Major Contenders

  • Estonian Reform Party (Eesti Reformierakond) – The center-right, free market liberal party in Estonia. Has held control of the Riigikogu for most of recent history. In spite of a drop off of support since November, the Reform Party received the 25% in the latest (February 25) poll and is most political pundits believe they will win the majority in the upcoming elections.
  • Estonian Centre Party (Eesti Keskerakond) – The centralist social liberal party most popular among ethnic Russians living in Estonia. They are the strongest threat to the Reform Party with 25% of the vote.
  • Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica (Isamaa ja Res Publica Liit) – The conservative Christian democrat party. In February, polls show a jump in growth of party support from 12% to 21%.
  • Social Democratic Party (Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Erakond) – Support for this party has also grown in the past month from 9% to 16%.
  • Green Party (Erakond Eestimaa Rohelised)– Polls show support around 4%.
  • Peoples Union of Estonia (Eestimaa Rahvaliit) –¬† Agrian party with around 2% support.

Electronic Voting

  • Always into technology, elections in Estonia are no exception. Estonians were able to vote electronically from their homes between 24 February and 2 March using a secure system with an encoded ID card. The latest counts show that about 15% of Estonia’s population or around 140,846 people voted using this system.

We’ll be sure to keep you updated as results come in next week!

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