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ESTONIA-PM's Party Retains Lead, But Gov't Could Lose Maj In March Election


Opinion polling from Estonia ahead of the country's 5 March general election shows that PM Kaja Kallas' centre-right liberal Reform Party (RE) retains its lead and is on course for a plurality of seats, but that together with its current allies in the coalition gov't could fall short of a majority, resulting in a change in gov't composition. While Estonia is the fourth-smallest eurozone economy, the country has gained international prominence due to its hard-line hawkish stance towards Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. As such, any change in gov't parties will be watched closely in Kyiv and other Ukraine-allied capitals.

  • The current gov't is formed by Kallas' RE, the centre-left Social Democrats (SDE) and the centre-right Isamaa (Fatherland) party. Since Oct 2022, the combined support for gov't parties has only exceeded that of the combined opposition parties in a single poll, making the inclusion of other parties likely a requirement if Kallas is to retain power.
  • Neither of the two largest opposition parties, the right-wing nationalist Conservative People's Party (EKRE) or populist Russian-minority interest Centre Party, are likely to join Kallas' gov't due to major policy differences. Kallas warned that an EKRE-led gov't would lead to Estonia becoming a "closed, embittered, small country,”
  • The most likely election outcome is the inclusion of the liberal centrist Estonia 200 (E200) in a Kallas-led administration, either in a 4-party gov't or at the expense of the SDE or Isamaa parties. This should ensure a continued hawkish line on Russia and support for Estonia's EU and EZ position.
Chart 1. Estonia General Election Opinion Polling, % and 6-Poll Moving Average

Source: Turu-uuringute AS, Norstat, Kantar Emor, MNI

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