Center-Right Reform Party Wins Estonian Election

A torch-lit march part-organised by the EKRE party in Tallinn last week

Her business friendly party had 28.8% of the votes, according to results from the Estonian Electoral Commission with all precincts counted early Monday morning.

Ratas said "of course" when asked if Center would consider joining a coalition with Reform as a junior partner, but he did not elaborate.

Helme has raised the idea of a Centre-EKRE-Isamaa coalition commanding a 57-seat majority. Its current leader, Kaja Kallas, is the daughter of the party's founder, former prime minister Siim Kallas. His government replaced a Reform government that lost a confidence vote.

The Center's backers include ethnic Russians, who make up 25 percent of the population in this former Soviet republic. EKRE is on 17 percent.

Estonia's president is due to nominate the candidate for prime minister in coming days, after which the nominee will then begin negotiations to form a coalition as all parties fell well short of winning a majority.

Its current head, Kaja Kallas, took over at the helm of the party as its first female leader past year.

Almost half of the 880,690 eligible voters had cast their ballots by midday on Sunday, including 40% who used e-voting in advance polling. Those votes were tallied first and included in the polling station results.

While it won just seven seats in the 2015 election, the EKRE is set to capture a close third spot behind established parties.

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Both Prime Minister Juri Ratas' Center Party and the center-right Reform Party shared the goal of keeping the nationalist Estonian Conservative People's Party at bay. Thus, the EU - and Nato-member country follows a Trend that was previously observed in other European countries. An 18 per cent showing translates to 19 seats in the 101-seat Riigikogu. The turnout was 63.1 percent. No online voting took place on election day.

The party's deep suspicion of Moscow translates into strong support for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership and the multinational battalion the alliance installed in Estonia in 2017 to deter Russian aggression.

Besides partnering with EKRE, Kallas told public broadcaster ETV that the Reform Party would "keep all coalition options on the table". Estonia has one of the highest rates of alcohol-related deaths in Europe.

Estonia's opposition centre-right Reform Party smashed the pre-election polling projections to secure a resounding victory over the ruling centre-left government of Prime Minister Juri Ratas, making a major triumph for the victorious party's pro-Western leader, Kaja Kallas.

Sunday's vote in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union member of 1.3 million comes as the far-right, nationalist Estonian Conservative People's Party, EKRE, has substantially increased its popularity since the 2015 election.

Both want to keep at bay a nationalist, far-right party with an anti-immigration, xenophobic and euroskeptic agenda, which has increased its popularity since the last election in 2015.

During the advance voting period on February 21-27 in Estonia, 247,232 voters chose internet voting, up from just over 186,000 in the 2017 local elections.

Since being the victim of one of the world's first cyber warfare attacks by Russian Federation in 2007, Estonia has evolved into one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world.

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