Centre-right party wins Estonian election

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip’s Reform Party gained the most votes in Estonia’s general election on 4 March 2007. However, the continuation of the current government coalition remains uncertain.

Ansip’s centre-right Reform Party won 27.8% of votes, ahead of its centre-left coalition partner the Centre Party, which received 26.1% of votes. Estonia’s opposition party, the conservative IRL Union, took 17.9% of the votes.

The general elections were the first since Estonia joined the EU in 2004, but also marked a world first in that citizens were allowed to vote online.

The Estonian prime minister promised to continue market-friendly policies and lower the country’s flat tax to encourage further growth. The Baltic country had reached a record growth rate of 11.5% in 2006 and is currently struggling with inflation rates of around 5%, which caused a delay in Estonia’s plans to join the euro this year.

The country also suffers from a weak health record, with high rates of alcoholism, HIV infections and traffic-related deaths. Estonia also faces difficulties in integrating its Russian-speaking minority, which makes up for one third of the population.

However, the prime minister left it open whether his Reform Party would continue the current government coalition with the Centre Party. Talking to Bloomberg, Ansip said: “We are open to everything and every partner.” He added: “It is not that some partners are better than others. We can see good and bad sides when we talk about our partners in every case.”

Ansip explained to Estonian radio station he might consider a coalition with the conservative IRL Union party.

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