Reform Party most successful in terms of local coalitions

Overview of incoming local government coalitions. Election coalition - gray; Reform Party - yellow; Center Party - Green; EKRE - dark blue; Isamaa - light blue; SDE - red; Eesti 200 - black PHOTO: Postimees

While not all coalition agreements have been signed following the 2021 local government council elections, incoming rulers have been determined in all of Estonia’s 79 local governments. Election coalitions will be involved in running most local governments, with the Reform Party’s participation in 29 coalitions making it the most successful political party.

Election coalitions that between them took 24.4 percent of the vote at the 2021 local government council elections will be involved in running 61 local governments (77 percent of all local governments). A total of 74 election coalitions will participate in running cities and municipalities.

The Reform Party will be at the helm in 29 local governments (37 percent) after taking 17.3 percent of the nationwide vote. The party has the majority in four municipality councils.

Elections winner the Center Party (24.4 percent) will be represented in 24 city and rural municipality governments (30 percent).

Isamaa, after taking 8.4 percent of the vote, managed to boost the number of local governments it will help rule to 18.

The Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) that did better than Isamaa at elections (13.2 percent of the vote) will be represented in 17 local governments.

The Social Democratic Party (SDE), whose members mostly ran in election coalitions, will be involved in just six coalitions after taking 5 percent of the vote at elections.

Newcomers Eesti 200 took 6 percent of the vote and will be represented in four local government coalitions.

Of Estonia’s 15 cities, the Center Party will be ruling in nine, Reform and election coalitions seven. SDE will be on the council of four cities, Isamaa two and Eesti 200 one. EKRE did not manage to make a single city coalition.

Narva-Jõesuu is the only city that will not have a political party involved in running it for the next four years. At the same time, seven cities will not have an election coalition among rulers.

Election coalitions also put in strong showings and became the largest coalition partners in the cities of Haapsalu, Narva, Paide and Viljandi.

While there are just 11 rural municipalities with no election coalitions at the helm, those that will be ruled without the help of political parties number 22.

Rae, Jõelähtme, Muhu, Kanepi and Viljandi municipalities do not have election coalitions even in the opposition.

Twenty-four local governments will be run exclusively by election coalitions, 18 only by political parties and 37 by a mix of parties and election coalitions.

While a single election coalition or party took enough votes to rule alone in 31 local governments, only 24 will not have a ruling coalition as partners are brought on board either out of solidarity or to reinforce what would otherwise be a precariously slight majority.

Jõelähtme Municipality mayor Andrus Umboja (Reform) said that smaller places have less room for political technology, adding that Reform has included partners in a coalition at three consecutive elections.

“There is more anonymity in cities. People tend to know each other better in smaller places and alliances are formed based on good personal relations as opposed to party lines. You want to work with the people you get along with instead of pushing them aside,” the Jõelähtme election winner said.

Largest coalition to have five participants

The most popular coalition has three partners that is the case in 25 local governments. Five coalitions will have four participants, with the coalition in Põhja-Sakala Municipality made up of EKRE, Center, Isamaa, Eesti 200 and an election coalition.

In 13 local governments, the election winner has been sent to the opposition, including in Valga Municipality and the city of Kohtla-Järve where the Center Party has been sidelined despite taking the most votes. Isamaa has been kept from power in Jõgeva Municipality, EKRE in Pärnu and Reform in Harku Municipality.

Election coalitions aside, the Reform Party will be sharing power with the Center Party in ten local governments. The two parties also rule together on the central government level. SDE will be forming a coalition with the Reform Party in most places where they will be included. EKRE and Isamaa will be sharing power in five local governments, while the national conservatives will be working with election coalitions in most of their local governments over the next four years.

An interactive map (in Estonian) of incoming local governments can be found here.

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