Estonian government wins general election making reelection of president Ilves most likely

The government has won the Estonian general elections held yesterday. As governing parties had declared their support for the incumbent president Toomas Hendrik Ilves before, his reelection now seems to be only a matter of form.

The ‘Reform Party’ of prime minister Ansip won 33 of the 101 seats in the assembly, its coalition partner, the ‘Pro Patria Res Publica Union’ won 23. The Centre Party, whose party leader and mayor of Tallinn had been heavily criticised by the press and the president, lost three of its seats and now disposes of only 26 deputies. The Social Democratic Party won 19 seats (9 more than it had in the last term) and probably benefitted from the fact that smaller parties such as the Greens and ‘People’s Union of Estonia’ failed to enter parliament.

After Ansip had led a minority government for most of the last term (he was elected with the help of the Social Democrats), the government now holds a majority of seats in the four party-assembly. With Ansip’s election victory (which is also seen as a sign of approval for his reform programme and Estonia joining the Euro), the course is set for president Ilves’ reelection in August this year. In Estonia, the president is elected by parliament and a two-thirds majority is needed to do so. The government together with Ilves’ party of origin, the Social Democrats, now dispose of 75 seats (74 per cent) in the assembly and would thus be able to elect him without the need to convene a widened electoral assembly.

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