June 23. 2024. 1:13

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Estonian elections: Home match for Renew Europe

Estonian voters will head to the polls this Sunday to elect their new national parliament amidst Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, an event of particular significance the country given its shared border with Russia and sizeable Russian-speaking minority.

Polls show that the liberal Reform Party (Renew Europe Group in the EU Parliament), led by Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, is expected to receive 28% of the vote – one point less than in the previous election in 2019. Kallas, a vocal advocate for the Ukrainian government, is the first female Estonian head of government.

The minor coalition partners, the Social Democrats (S&D Group) and the centre-right Isamaa (EPP Group), are polling at 8% and 9%, respectively, after having regained some support in the election campaign. However, it is currently unclear if the government can maintain its parliamentary majority.

The right-wing opposition party EKRE, which cooperates with Marine Le Pen’s Identity and Democracy Group in the EU Parliament, is currently polling at 19% (compared to 17.8% in 2019), which would be their best result so far and put them in second place for the first time.

On the other hand, the Centre Party (Renew Europe), which traditionally wins the Russophone vote, is polling at 17.5%, 5.5 points lower than their previous election result and all results in the 21st century. The liberal Estonia 200 party, which intends to join Renew Europe when elected to the EU Parliament, is polling at 12% (compared to 4.4% in 2019) and is looking to enter the national parliament for the first time.

A recent Kantar Emor poll for public television in Estonia shows Kallas as the preferred prime minister candidate, with 38% support, followed by former prime minister Jüri Ratas of the Centre Party with 20% and EKRE’s Martin Helme with 12%. The prime minister represents Estonia in the European Council, considered the most powerful institution in the EU.

(Tobias Gerhard Schminke – EuropeElects)