James Jay Carafano
Election results delivered a comfortable victory for the current government, under Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. Her party, Reform, improved their vote total from 2019 by 3 points and likely picked up three seats.
What happened? This election not surprisingly focused quite a bit on the war. Results show broad societal support for the governments strong aid to Ukraine, outspoken criticism of Russia, and plans to raise defense spending to 3 percent.
What will the next government look like? The ruling party will need coalition partners but don’t think that’ll be an issue. The prime minister’s two coalition partners lost five seats total but the three parties would still hold enough seats to reform a majority if they chose to. EKRE (nationalist party of the same parliamentary group as national rally and freedom party in Austria) lost two seats but mostly stayed stable in vote share. The Centre Party which came in third lost 10 seats a huge drop in fortunes from last elections. They’ve had a series of corruption scandals and are typically the party favored by Russian speaking Estonians.
What’s the big takeaway? Estonian elections are yet another example of resilient center-right governments in Europe despite the unsettling challenges of inflation, energy prices, and the on-gong war against Ukraine. These governments are consistently anti-Russian, anti-China, pro-US, and pro-support for Ukraine (and varying degrees of Euro-skeptic and views on social policies).Estonia and other center-right governments are delivering on exactly what many American critics are demanding-taking burden sharing seriously.