Estonia holds elections to elect a new government | News
Estonia is holding parliamentary elections this Sunday where the next government will come out, while thousands of voters preferred to cast their votes electronically during the week, local authorities reported.
Russia lowers level of diplomatic relations with Estonia
The polling stations opened at 09:00 (07:00 GMT) and will close at 20:00 (18:00 GMT). Results are expected on Sunday night.
At 12:00 local time, three hours after the opening of the polls, participation stood at 52.4%, on a day with freezing temperatures and forecast snowfall.
This year new records were set for online and paper voting, data from the Electoral Commission shows.
In total, 313,510 citizens voted electronically, breaking the last record set in the previous Riigikogu elections in 2019 when 247,232 electronic ballots were cast.
It also surpassed online voting in the 2021 local elections, when 263,566 people cast their digital ballots.
Residents can also vote in local elections, unlike national elections which are restricted to citizens only, so the pool of potential voters is different.
In addition, this year 143,346 paper votes were also cast at the polling stations. This breaks the previous record, 141,243, set in 2007.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas' center-right Reform Party, one of the most outspoken supporters of European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) policies in the region, is one of the favorites to win.
However, it faces a challenge from the far-right opposition Estonian People's Conservative Party, or EKRE, which seeks to limit the Baltic nation's exposure to the Ukraine crisis and blames the government for the economic misery of its citizens.
Kallas, in office since 2021, is seeking a second term, and his position is reinforced by his international calls to impose sanctions on Moscow over the special military operation in Ukraine.
Five parties are currently represented in parliament. Kallas's Reform Party heads the current three-party coalition government with the small conservative Fatherland party and the Social Democrats.
A Baltic nation of 1.3 million people bordering Russia to the east, Estonia broke away from the Soviet Union in 1991 and has taken a clear western course, joining NATO and the European Union.
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