Estonia's Kallas in first place in parliamentary election
Updated 13:05, 06-Mar-2023

The Reform party of Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas secured first place in Sunday's parliamentary election, a result that should ensure Tallinn remains one of Europe's most staunchly pro-Kyiv governments.

Results with 98 percent of ballots counted showed the far-right EKRE party in second place, with 16.1 percent versus 31.5 percent for Kallas' liberal group, reflecting concerns among some voters over the rising cost of living in the wake of the Ukraine conflict.

If Kallas, 45, succeeds in crafting a functioning coalition, it would cement the Baltic nation's pro-European direction.

Estonia, a western neighbor of Russia with a population of 1.3 million, would also stay on course to adopt more green energy and continue to accept refugees from Ukraine.

Kallas said the election left her party in a strong position to form a coalition government that would keep calling for pressure on Russia.

Throughout the campaign, the EKRE has promised to slash energy bills by opposing the transition to green energy and to stop accepting new Ukrainian refugees.

The party also criticized the extent of Kallas' policy of sending weapons to Ukraine, saying it did not take into account the country's own defense needs.

Turnout was 63.7 percent, in line with the previous election, and 51 percent of the votes were cast by internet, including Kallas.

(Cover: Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas smiles after voting via the internet system in parliamentary elections in Tallinn, Estonia, March 1, 2023. /CFP)

Source(s): Reuters

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