Estonia: Estonia's ruling liberal Reform Party wins parliamentary election in close vote
March 3, 2015
Estonia’s ruling center-right Reform Party won the 1 March parliamentary election, beating the pro-Russophone Centre Party in a close contest that was mainly centered on national security issues amid the Russia-Ukraine ongoing conflict. While the Reform Party garnered the most seats, it fell short of absolute majority in the 101-seat Riigikogu (parliament).
Prime Minister Taavi Roivas’ ruling Reform Party received 27.7% of the votes, which was slightly down from the result achieved in the elections that were held in 2011. The result was high enough to beat pro-Russophone opposition Centre Party, which obtained 24.8%. The Social Democrat Party (SDE) came in third with 15.2%, followed by the conservative Pro Patria-Res Publica Union (IRL), which received just 13.7%. Two new smaller parties made their way into the Parliament for the first time. The Free Party got 8.7% of the votes and the anti-immigration Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) received 8.1%.
Prime Minister Roivas now faces a more difficult scenario in which to form a coalition as parliament has fragmented into six parties rather than the previous election’s four parties. Roivas has already ruled out a coalition with the pro-Russophone Centre Party, which is not a surprise considering that his party has a pro-NATO foreign policy and is openly against Russia’s role in Ukraine. While the Social Democrat Party is most likely to remain a member of the ruling coalition, Roivas will need to look for other alliances if he aims to have majority in parliament. It is still unclear what parties will comprise the government coalition.
Author: Cecilia Simkievich, Economist