TALLINN - The Tallinn City Council has approved a plan to form a single electoral district that will encompass the entire capital city for the upcoming elections.
The move was approved by a majority vote on March 19.
The reform will take effect ahead of the local elections that will take place on October 18. The new single district will give the Center Party 's which currently holds a majority in the council with 34 out of 63 seats 's significantly better chances to perform well in the elections.
Local press has reported that the move may have come in response to the decision to increase the number of seats in the city council to 79 from the current 63.
An opinion poll taken by Turu-uuringute AS earlier this month found that the Center Party is by far the most popular in the city.
Nationally, the Center Party had the support of 23 percent of respondents, while the rival Reform party was backed by 15 percent. The Pro Patria and Res Publica Union followed at 10 percent, Social Democrats at 8 percent, Greens at 6 percent and People's Union at 3 percent, according to the poll, which was published in the daily Postimees.
"The difference between Center and Reform has grown considerably," said political scientist Rein Toomla. "Eight percent is a big difference in Estonia and it only means that Reform Party has managed to lose its 20 percent support among Russian-speakers," he said.
Center Party commands 53 percent support among Russian-speakers, while Reform Party and Pro Patria both have just 2 percent.
Center's current support would be enough to secure them a victory in Tallinn, where they currently rule alone.
Center had 37 percent support in the capital Tallinn. Far behind were IRL at 13 percent, Reform at 11 percent, Social Democrats at 8 percent, Greens at 4 percent and Russian Party in Estonia at 2 percent. People's Union was supported by just one percent of respondents in the capital city.
Tynisa Saartsa, a political science professor at Tallinn University, told EÐ¢V Terevisioon that this is the first time in history that a party has had such a large lead a half year before elections.