Estonia's biggest parties to spend EUR up to 1 mln on campaign

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Photo: Peeter Langovits

The parties of Estonia's ruling two-party coalition, Reform and Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL), are planning to spend up to one million euros for campaigning ahead of the Oct. 20 local polls, spokespeople for the parties have said.

The opposition Center Party and Social Democrats (SDE) are eyeing campaign budgets of around 700,000 euros and 500,000 euros, respectively.

«The price of the pre-election campaign of IRL will be between 700,000 and one million euros, a more precise figure can be revealed when the campaign is over,» IRL spokesman Kaido Kukk told BNS on Tuesday. He refused to offer a breakdown by advertising channel, however. «That's a matter of strategy, we can talk about it when the campaign is over.»

A spokesman for the Reform Party, Silver Pukk, said the cost apparently will be somewhat bigger than ahead of the previous local polls in 2009 when Reform spent 12.8 million kroons or 820,000 euros on campaign. Pukk said the higher cost was a result of the party fielding the biggest ever number of candidates.

The secretary general of Center, Priit Toobal, said the party was planning to spend from 500,000 to 700,000 euros on campaign and the biggest expenditure articles were television and radio ads as well as outdoor media. How exactly the budget will be divided is a secret and can be talked about once the polls are over, he added.

Tarvo Sarnet, campaign chief for SDE, told BNS the campaign of SDE was budgeted to cost around half a million euros of which 200,000 euros would be spent on television, radio, internet and newspaper ads and the rest on printed materials, their design and distribution.

Of the smaller parties only the Conservatives have a campaign budget. Martin Helme, board member of the Conservative People's Party, said the size of the campaign budget is between 10,000 and 15,000 euros and the money will be spent primarily on television ads. "But everyone can campaign for their own money. Our spending per candidate is a hundred times smaller than in the case of the major parties, broadly speaking," Helme said.

The size of the annual budget of the Conservative People's Party is 30,000 euros.

Spokespeople for Free Patriotic Citizen and Greens said neither of the parties had set aside any money for campaigning and each of their candidates had to raise campaign funds on their own.