Estonia: the 2024 European Parliament elections – a battle of particular person candidates 

Estonia makes use of an open listing system in European Parliament elections, which suggests the recognition of particular person candidates performs a key position in figuring out the end result. Martin Mölder assesses how this would possibly play out on this 12 months’s European elections.


This text is a part of a sequence on the 2024 European Parliament elections. The EUROPP weblog may also be co-hosting a panel dialogue on the elections at LSE on 6 June.


Like most different European international locations, Estonia is utilizing a party-list primarily based system for the 2024 European Parliament elections. The lists are open, which signifies that the recognition of particular person candidates on the polls issues for who will get elected. This, along with the truth that solely seven seats are allotted to Estonia, contributes to those elections being very candidate-centred and signifies that voters’ preferences in some circumstances markedly differ from how they might vote in nationwide elections.

Within the context of the latter, the national-conservative Fatherland has been polling ten proportion factors forward of all different events (with their assist reaching as much as 30%) after the rankings for the Reform Get together (the social gathering of the Prime Minister) and Estonia 200 (additionally a present governing social gathering) collapsed following the 2023 parliamentary elections.

Within the context of the European Parliament elections, nevertheless, the recognition of Fatherland is a couple of proportion factors beneath 20%. Main on the European Parliament election polls are presently the Social Democrats, who’re gathering way more assist than they’re in nationwide politics. That is virtually completely as a result of excessive private recognition of their high candidate within the election, Marina

Like elsewhere in Europe, the voters’s curiosity within the European Parliament elections is more likely to be decrease compared to parliamentary elections and this curiosity is particularly low amongst youthful voters. This in flip is more likely to be a drawback for the Social Democrats, as their typical voter is youthful. For the remainder of the events, their assist for the European Parliament elections largely corresponds to their assist in nationwide politics.

Doubtless outcomes

It appears possible that 5 out of the seven seats that Estonia has within the European Parliament will go to present Estonian MEPs. Marina Kaljurand from the Social Democrats, Urmas Paet from the Reform Get together, Jaak Madison from the Estonian Conservative Folks’s Get together (EKRE) and Riho Terras from Fatherland are virtually sure to get re-elected.

The entrance operating candidate of the Centre Get together is the previous Mayor of Tallinn and the chief of the social gathering, Mihhail Kõlvart, who has stated that he is not going to take up his place as an MEP if elected. This implies the one place for the Centre Get together, which additionally appears fairly sure, will go to Jana Toom, who can be presently within the European Parliament.

The remaining two seats are being contested by 4 events and 6 candidates. Each the Social Democratic Get together and EKRE have a chance of getting a second mandate and in each circumstances, there’s a single contender throughout the social gathering who’s clearly forward of the remainder of the social gathering’s candidates. For the Social Democrats, this may be Sven Mikser, one other present MEP, whereas for EKRE, it might be Martin Helme, the present chief of the social gathering. There may be additionally a substantial chance that the Reform Get together or Fatherland would possibly get a second mandate and there’s robust competitors inside each events for this second seat.

Within the case of the Reform Get together, each Hanno Pevkur (present Minister of Defence) and Marko Mihkelson (chairman of the International Affairs Committee in parliament) have an virtually equal chance of getting this second seat ought to it go to the Reform Get together. It should even be famous right here that the Reform Get together presently holds two seats within the European Parliament. One in all these seats is held by a former Estonian Prime Minister and European Commissioner Andrus Ansip, who shouldn’t be contesting these elections.

That is seemingly because of a heated battle with the top of the social gathering and the present Prime Minister, Kaja Kallas. The latter declared publicly that Ansip has misplaced the assist of the social gathering and that he shouldn’t contest these elections as a Reform Get together candidate. This and the truth that Kallas herself additionally determined to not run within the European Parliament elections significantly weakened the place of the Reform Get together. Whereas earlier than it was virtually sure that they might retain their two locations, these conflicts throughout the social gathering have decreased this chance.

Lastly, for Fatherland we additionally see a second of inside social gathering competitors for a potential second seat within the European Parliament. Despite the fact that the social gathering is underperforming contemplating its recognition within the context of nationwide elections, there’s a appreciable chance that they’ll snatch one of many two contested seats. Throughout the social gathering, its present chief, Urmas Reinsalu, and a latest addition to the social gathering, Jüri Ratas, a former Prime Minister and chief of the Centre Get together who switched allegiances in the beginning of the 12 months, are drawing an equal quantity of assist from the voters.

A possible wakeup name for the Reform Get together

By way of nationwide politics, a very powerful query within the context of the European Parliament elections is whether or not the Reform Get together will lose certainly one of its seats or not. If they don’t, then it’s an incentive for the social gathering to proceed with their enterprise as normal, though the present management and political choices of the social gathering have virtually halved their assist during the last 12 months and roughly two-thirds of the voters want to see the Prime Minister resign.

In the event that they do lose this one seat, nevertheless, this could be a wakeup name for the social gathering, a sign that one thing wants to vary within the social gathering’s management and political fashion. In spite of everything, native elections are looming across the nook in 2025 and as soon as these have been held, events will already want to begin fascinated by the following nationwide parliamentary elections in 2027. The Reform Get together can’t danger contesting these elections from a place the place they might lose huge.


Word: This text provides the views of the creator, not the place of EUROPP – European Politics and Coverage or the London College of Economics. Featured picture credit score: European Union

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