Estonian Conservative People’s Party is likely to enter the ruling coalition after all

Recently I made a video about the Estonian Conservative People’s Party [EKRE]. A lot of people from Estonia commented that they did not share my optimism that the EKRE would be included in the new ruling coalition. I continued to be optimistic. Unless the two main rivals, Reform and Center, form a coalition together, it is hard for either party to form a coalition without EKRE being involved.

The previous ruling coalition, launched in 2016, included the Center Party [K], the Social Democrats [SDE], and the center-right Pro-Patria/Fatherland [I] party. This oddball ruling coalition was created mainly to bump the Reform party out of power after a no-confidence vote in parliament.

SDE and I did not get the votes to reconstruct the K-SDE-I coalition, and the Reform party rejected a coalition with EKRE. SDE ruled out any chance of a K-SDE-EKRE coalition.

Now the Center Party board of directors has voted 14 to 4 in favor of starting negotiations for a K-I-EKRE coalition. Raimond Kaljulaid, one of the four board members who voted against, immediately quit and is threatening to start a splinter party. He told the media “I think that the young generation of Estonians, in particular, feels like Brits did the morning after the Brexit vote or young Americans felt when they saw that Donald Trump had won the [US] presidential elections.”

It appears likely that this K-I-EKRE coalition will take power. Many media outlets in Europe are already acting hysterical. The SDE is holding out hope that it can form a minority coalition with the Reform Party. They would need seven other members of the 101 member parliament to vote for this coalition in order for it to take power.

Some other notes: EKRE came in first place in two of Estonia’s twelve voting districts.

E-voting: This is the first election where e-voting was allowed. A total of 44% of all votes cast were e-votes, and Reform won about 40% of these votes. Only about 20% of traditional votes went to Reform. If you do not count the e-votes, the results of the entire election are dramatically different. EKRE came in first place in five out of twelve districts among traditional votes.

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