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2019 Estonian parliamentary election

Parliamentary elections were held in Estonia on 3 March 2019. The Reform Party remained the largest party, gaining 4 seats for a total of 34 and the Conservative People's Party had the largest gain overall, increasing their seat count by 12 to a total of 19 seats.

2019 Estonian parliamentary election

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All 101 seats in the Riigikogu
51 seats needed for a majority
Opinion polls
Turnout63.7% (Decrease0.5pp)
  First party Second party Third party
  Kaja Kallas (36784407542) (cropped).jpg RK Jüri Ratas (cropped).jpg RK Mart Helme (cropped).jpg
Leader Kaja Kallas[1] Jüri Ratas Mart Helme
Party Reform Centre EKRE
Last election 30 seats, 27.7% 27 seats, 24.8% 7 seats, 8.1%
Seats won 34 26 19
Seat change Increase4 Decrease1 Increase12
Popular vote 162,364 129,617 99,672
Percentage 28.9% 23.1% 17.8%
Swing Increase 1.2pp Decrease 1.7pp Increase 9.7pp

  Fourth party Fifth party
  RK Helir-Valdor Seeder (cropped).jpg Jevgeni Ossinovski 2017-05-25 (cropped).jpg
Leader Helir-Valdor Seeder[2] Jevgeni Ossinovski[3]
Party Pro Patria Social Democratic
Last election 14 seats, 13.7% 15 seats, 15.2%
Seats won 12 10
Seat change Decrease2 Decrease5
Popular vote 64,219 55,168
Percentage 11.4% 9.8%
Swing Decrease 2.3pp Decrease 5.4pp

2019 Estonian parliamentary election by electoral districts.svg
Winning party by electoral districts:
  Reform   Centre   Conservative People's

Prime Minister before election

Jüri Ratas
Centre

Elected Prime Minister

Jüri Ratas
Centre

Contents

Electoral systemEdit

The 101 members of the Riigikogu are elected by proportional representation in twelve multi-member constituencies. Seats are allocated using a modified D'Hondt method. Parties have to pass a nationwide threshold of 5% to win seats. If the number of votes cast for an individual candidate exceeds or equals the simple quota in their constituency (obtained by dividing the number of valid votes cast in the electoral district by the number of seats in the district), they are deemed elected. The remaining seats are allocated based on each party's share of the vote and the number of votes received by individual candidates. Any seats not allocated at the constituency level are filled using a closed list presented by each party at the national level.[4]

Seats by electoral districtEdit

Electoral District Seats[5]
1 Haabersti, Põhja-Tallinn and Kristiine districts in Tallinn 10
2 Kesklinn, Lasnamäe and Pirita districts in Tallinn 13
3 Mustamäe and Nõmme districts in Tallinn 8
4 Harju (excluding Tallinn) and Rapla counties 15
5 Hiiu, Lääne and Saare counties 6
6 Lääne-Viru county 5
7 Ida-Viru county 7
8 Järva and Viljandi counties 7
9 Jõgeva and Tartu counties (excluding Tartu) 7
10 City of Tartu 8
11 Võru, Valga and Põlva counties 8
12 Pärnu county 7

Opinion pollsEdit

ResultsEdit

 
Winning party by counties and city districts, excluding electronic voting which comprises 43.8% of all votes[6]:
  Reform   Centre   Conservative People's
 
Electronic voting winning party by electoral districts:
  Reform   Centre


Party Votes % Seats ±
Estonian Reform Party 162,364 28.9 34 +4
Estonian Centre Party 129,617 23.1 26 −1
Conservative People's Party 99,672 17.8 19 +12
Pro Patria 64,219 11.4 12 −2
Social Democratic Party 55,168 9.8 10 −5
Estonia 200 24,447 4.4 0 New
Estonian Greens 10,226 1.8 0 0
Richness of Life 6,858 1.2 0 New
Estonian Free Party 6,460 1.2 0 −8
Estonian United Left 510 0.1 0 0
Independent candidates 1,590 0.3 0 0
Invalid/blank votes 3,897
Total 565,028 100 101 0
Registered voters/turnout 887,419 63.7
Source: Valimised


Government formationEdit

Having won the most seats, the Reform Party took the lead in forming a new government. Kallas stated that she would be seeking a three-party coalition with Pro Patria and the Social Democratic Party, or a two-party coalition with the Centre Party.[7]

On 6 March, the Reform Party announced that they would begin talks with the Centre Party.[8] Two days later the Centre Party declined the offer, citing differences of opinion on tax matters and claiming that the Reform Party's demands were too ultimatum-like.[9]

After the Centre Party's rejection, the Reform Party invited the Social Democrats and Pro Patria to negotiations. The Reform party had previously said that the poor relationship between two in the previous government would be unhelpful for a future coalition.[10]

On 11 March, the Centre Party announced that it would begin parallel coalition talks with Pro Patria and the Conservative People's Party, while criticizing the Reform Party of "extreme uncertainty" in formation of a coalition. Pro Patria rejected the Reform Party's proposal and accepted the Centre Party's proposal. At the same time the Conservative People's Party also decided to begin coalition talks with Centre and Pro Patria.[11]

Coalition attempt by the Centre PartyEdit

After having turned down an offer by the Reform party for coalition talks, the head of the Centre Party, Jüri Ratas, entered into talks with Pro Patria and the Conservative People's Party (EKRE), the latter being widely considered a far-right party. Ratas had previously ruled out forming a coalition with EKRE during the election campaign because of its hostile views.[12].

"When I said before that it would be impossible for me to cooperate with a political party which cuts heads off, doesn't agree to certain nationalities or races, then EKRE has indeed said those things."[13]

— Jüri Ratas, talking about EKRE in November 2018

The subsequent reversal of his stance and the inclusion of EKRE by Ratas in coalition talks after the elections was met with local and international criticism. In a poll conducted after the start of the coalition talks, the party of Jüri Ratas further lost support.[14][15]

Critics of the decision to include the Conservative People's Party in a coalition government claimed that Ratas is willing to sacrifice the Centre Party's values, the confidence of Centre Party voters and the stability of the country to keep his position as prime minister. Ratas has countered that his first duty is to look for ways to get his party included in the government in order to be able to work for the benefit of his voters, and that the coalition would continue to firmly support the EU and NATO, and would be sending out messages of tolerance.[16][17][18]

Some key members and popular candidates of Ratas' Centre Party have been critical of the decision, with Raimond Kaljulaid leaving the party's governing board in protest. Yana Toom, a member of the party and a party representative in the European Parliament, expressed criticism of the decision. Mihhail Kõlvart, popular among Russian-speaking voters, said the Centre Party cannot govern with the Conservative People's policy on languages in Estonia.[19][20][21]

The decision to include the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) was also criticised in a letter written by Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the ALDE group in the European Parliament (the group in which Ratas' Centre Party is a member), suggesting that Ratas should break off coalition talks with the national-conservative EKRE. Ratas criticised Verhofstadt's letter in the Estonian media.[22][23]

Brussels should not dictate to Estonia what our new coalition should be like.

— Jüri Ratas, head of the Centre Party, in response to a plea by Guy Verhofstadt to not include EKRE in the coalition.[24][25]

On 6 April, coalition negotiations ended between the Centre Party, EKRE, and Pro Patria, after the parties agreed on a coalition plan. The parties agreed that Jüri Ratas would retain the role of prime minister and that there would be four name and role changes to ministerial portfolios. The parties also agreed that the new cabinet will contain fifteen ministries (including PM), with each party receiving a total of five ministries.[26] Its the first time that a far-right party is poised to enter Estonia's government.[27]

On 16 April, President Kersti Kaljulaid officially gave Jüri Ratas the mandate to form the next government, after Kallas failed to get parliament's approval to form a government.[28]

Coalition attempt by the Reform PartyEdit

After the announcement, the leader of Reform, Kaja Kallas, who was tasked first by President Kersti Kaljulaid to form a coalition, said that she intends to hold a vote in the Riigikogu on 15 April on a coalition deal that she is currently trying to form. Kallas stated that she was considering two options, either inviting another party to join the coalition (except EKRE) or forming a minority government with the Social Democrats. There was also another possible option, where Reform would form a coalition with the Social Democrats and receive backing from some Centre and Pro Patria MPs who expressed their opposition about forming a government with EKRE, but "Kallas has not said that such a set-up was on the cards."[29]

Coalition Voting ProcessEdit

On 15 April, Estonia's parliament voted against the Reform Party's coalition attempt, with 45 MPs voting in favor, 53 voting against, 2 abstentions, and 1 absent.[30][31][32]

On 17 April, Estonia's parliament approved the proposed coalition between Centre, EKRE, and Pro Patria, with a vote of 55–44, giving Jüri Ratas the chance to form a government.[33]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Kaja Kallas elected Reform Party's first-ever chairwoman". ERR. 14 April 2018. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Helir-Valdor Seeder elected chairman of IRL". ERR. 13 May 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Ossinovski valiti sotside uueks juhiks, Mikser loobus". Postimees. 30 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Riigikogu Election Act". Riigi Teataja. 20 January 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  5. ^ "Mandaatide jaotamine 2019. a Riigikogu valimisteks". Estonian National Electoral Committee. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Voting results in detail".
  7. ^ "Reform enters talks with SDE, Isamaa, Centre". ERR. 4 March 2018. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Reform to begin coalition talks with Centre Party". ERR. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Centre rejects Reform's offer to begin coalition talks". ERR. 8 March 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  10. ^ "Kallas: Reform to approach Isamaa, Social Democrats next". ERR. 8 March 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  11. ^ "Centre board announces decision to begin coalition talks with Isamaa, EKRE". ERR. 11 March 2018. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  12. ^ ERR (22 November 2018). "Ratas peab koalitsiooni EKRE-ga võimatuks". ERR. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  13. ^ ERR (22 November 2018). "Ratas peab koalitsiooni EKRE-ga võimatuks". ERR. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Kõlvart: erakonna püsimine on tähtsam kui olemine opositsioonis". Poliitika. 13 March 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  15. ^ "Uuring: valijad eelistavad kõike muud kui Keskerakonna-EKRE-Isamaa liitu". Poliitika. 14 March 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  16. ^ "Jüri Ratase ränk solvumine: Keskerakonna esimees on võimu nimel kõigeks valmis". Eesti Ekspress. 16 March 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  17. ^ "Keskerakond ei nõustu Reformierakonna ühiskondlikku ebavõrdsust suurendava ettepanekuga". keskerakond.ee. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  18. ^ "Jüri Ratas: «See küsimus on juba eos vale»". Poliitika. 14 March 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  19. ^ ERR, Mait Ots (12 March 2019). "Kaljulaid ERR-ile: enne lõhenegu Keskerakond, kui EKRE võimule aidatakse". ERR. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  20. ^ ERR (11 March 2019). "Toom: ma ei näe EKRE-s väärilist partnerit". ERR. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  21. ^ ERR, ERR (12 March 2019). "Kõlvart on EKRE's views: We cannot govern with their approach". ERR. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Ratas: Brüssel ei peaks Eestile ette kirjutama, missugune on meie uus koalitsioon". Postimees. 13 March 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  23. ^ ERR (13 March 2019). "Guy Verhofstadt implores Jüri Ratas to call off EKRE talks". ERR. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  24. ^ "Ratas: Brüssel ei peaks Eestile ette kirjutama, missugune on meie uus koalitsioon". Postimees. 13 March 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  25. ^ ERR (13 March 2019). "Guy Verhofstadt implores Jüri Ratas to call off EKRE talks". ERR. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  26. ^ News, ERR (2019). "Centre, EKRE, Isamaa board meets unveil coalition deal, proposed ministers". err.ee.
  27. ^ https://www.dw.com/en/estonia-far-right-set-to-enter-government-for-first-time/a-48240943
  28. ^ "Official: President Kaljulaid tasks Ratas with forming government". ERR News. 16 April 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  29. ^ News, ERR (2019). "Kaja Kallas: Coalition ready for Riigikogu vote on 15 April". err.ee.
  30. ^ "Estonian parliament rejects Reform's Kallas as PM". Reuters. 15 April 2019. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  31. ^ "Estonia liberals fail to form government after hung polls". France 24. 15 April 2019. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  32. ^ "Estonia's president entrusts government's formation to Ratas". Baltic News Network. 17 April 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  33. ^ "Estonia likely to see euroskeptic party brought to power". The Washington Post. 17 April 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2019.

External linksEdit