Estonian parties are actively preparing for the May 25 European Parliament elections in anticipation of candidate lists and election programmes approvals expected by the start of April, reports Postimees Online.
The President has to declare the elections at least three months before the election day, i.e. on February 24 latest. Candidate registration begins on March 26 and ends on April 10.
Parties can submit a list of a maximum of 12 candidates each. Independent candidates can also participate.
Among participating parties, the Centre Party is the only one that has determined who its candidates are. The candidates will be listed at the party's election conference in the second half of March. The list will include Centre Party chairman, mayor of Tallinn Edgar Savisaar, MPs Kadri Simson, Enn Eesmaa, Jüri Ratas, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Aadu Must, Priit Toobal, Aivar Riisalu, Mailis Reps, Ester Tuiksoo and Yana Toom and political researcher Kerstin-Oudekki Loone, reports LETA.
Reform Party has registered 17 people who will compete for the 12 seats in its list that will be approved of on March 2. The 17 are foreign minister Urmas Paet, finance minister Jürgen Ligi, culture minister Urve Tiidus, MPs Urmas Klaas, Kaja Kallas, Arto Aas, Rait Maruste, Aivar Sõerd, Margus Hanson, Igor Gräzin and Laine Randjärv, current European Parliament member Vilja Savisaar-Toomast, the party's foreign secretary Priit Kallakas, youth assembly chairman Joonas Vänto, youth assembly secretary general Anti Haugas, Järva county organisation head Kristjan Kõljalg and Tallinn region member Ragnar Pikkel.
The Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) election list will be approved by the party's council on March 14. The party's chairman Urmas Reinsalu has so far mentioned among possible candidates MPs Marko Mihkelson and Ene Ergma, Tallinn city council members Eerik-Niiles Kross and Yoko Alender and current European Parliament member Tunne Kelam.
Social Democratic Party (SDP) will approve its list on March 29. By now, such persons have been proposed as potential candidates: MPs Sven Mikser, Eiki Nestor, Marianne Mikko, Jevgeni Ossinovski and Urve Palo, professor Marju Lauristin, mayor of Kuressaare Hannes Hanso, actress Liina Raud, Tallinn city council member Abdul Hamid Turay and current European Parliament member Ivari Padar.
This year, the will elections take place on the principle of open lists again, after ten years. During the previous, 2009 elections, the candidate who was on the top position in the list got elected, now the person who actually gets the most of support gets to the European Parliament.