It’s only a few weeks before the parliamentary election polls open for Estonians to cast their vote.
The following is a brief comparison of the main four parties, those that occupy places in the 101 seat parliament and have from the start (in alphabetical order):
Estonian Centre Party (Eesti Keskerakond): Edgar Savisaar, leader.
Ideology: ‘Centrism/Social Liberalism/Populism’. (Ideology as defined by internet analysts: Agrarianism, Centrism, Populism.) Declares itself as a ‘middle class liberal party’ but most analysts see it as a left-wing party, perhaps even more than the Social Democrats; supported by 75% of ethnic-Russians; leading members support Russia’s ‘intervention’ in Ukraine.
Campaign slogan: ‘We’ll do it differently”, (Teeme teisiti).
Estonian Reform Party (Eesti Reformierakond): Taavi Rõivas, leader.
Ideology: ‘Classical Liberalism’. (Ideology as defined by internet analysts: Centre-Right, Classical Liberalism, Liberalism.) Ideology-positions: advocates market liberalism; supports zero percent corporate tax on re-invested income; wants to eliminate dividend tax; wants to lower 22% flat income tax rate; wants eventually to end conscription and establish a voluntary defence force.
Campaign slogan: ‘Steadily forward’, (Kindlalt edasi).
Social Democratic Party (Sotsiaaldemkoraatlik Erakond): Sven Mikser, leader.
Ideology: ‘Social Democracy’. (Ideology as defined by internet analysts: Centre Left, Social Democracy, Third Way.) Purport to support social market economy; say they promote social justice, solidarity, the welfare state. The small Russian Party merged with them in in 2012. Currently part of the coalition government.
Campaign slogan: ‘Estonia for people’, (Inimeste Eesti).
Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica (Isamaa ja Res Publica Liit): Urmas Reinsalu, leader. Ideology: ‘Liberal Conservatism’. (Internet description: National Conservatism, Christian Democracy, Social Conservatism, Centre-right to Right Wing.) Label themselves as ‘right-wing conservative’; value freedom, more than just freedom to make money; free enterprise; value social integrity, culture and traditions; support human centered society; want a strong national security.
Campaign slogan: ‘Better education, better work, better pay’, (Parem haridus, parem töö, parem palk).
Political parties fielding candidates but not currently represented in parliament:
Estonian Conservative People’s Party (Konservatiivne Rahvaerakond)
Estonian Free Party (Eesti Vabaerakond)
Estonian Green Party (Erakond Eestimaa Rohelised)
Estonian Independence Party (Eesti Iseseisvusepartei)
Estonian Union of the Left Party (Eesti Ühendatud Vasakpartei)
Party of People’s Unity (Rahva Ühtsuse Partei).
In addition to candidates representing registered parties, 13 independent, non-affiliated candidates have also been confirmed as candidates in the parliamentary elections. A total of 874 candidates are contesting for the 101 places in parliament in 2015.
In Toronto the polling station is open at Estonian House on Wednesday, February 18, from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm, and on Thursday, February 19, during the same hours. In Ottawa the polling station is open at the Estonia Embassy on Saturday, February 14, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm and on Tuesday, February 17, from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm.
Text by Laas Leivat, Eesti Elu/Graphics and Additional text UpNorth