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Prime Minister Kallas, advocate of Ukrainian cause, wins Estonia elections

An election poster of Prime Minister Kallas’s Reform Party

NOS News

The parliamentary elections in Estonia have been won by the centre-right Reform Party of current Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, according to preliminary results. With almost all votes counted, Kallas’s party comes out at 31.4 percent of the vote. The right-wing populist party EKRE received 16.1 percent of the vote, followed by the left-wing Center Party, which captured 15 percent.

Kallas, 45, has been prime minister of Estonia since early 2021, the first woman to hold that office. She is considered pro-European and one of the most outspoken advocates of support for Ukraine. That attitude appears to have won her and her party extra votes at the polls in the former Soviet republic, which shares an eastern border with Russia.

“This result, while not yet final, gives us a strong mandate to form a government,” Kallas said on her party’s results night. “I don’t think our support for Ukraine will change with this strong mandate, because the other parties – except EKRE and maybe Centrum – are on the same page.”

Weapons for Ukraine

These results give the Reform Party 37 seats in the 101-seat Estonian parliament. Although that is a strong position, Kallas must therefore look for a coalition with other parties. In any case, she does not want to govern with EKRE for the time being, because of the strong ideological differences of that party with the Reform Party.

Kallas’ main challenger, Martin Helme of EKRE, blamed her for the high inflation in Estonia (18.6 percent) during the campaign. He also thinks that she is undermining Estonia militarily by giving weapons to Ukraine and he wants Estonia to limit the reception of Ukrainian refugees.

“In fact, we have given all our heavy weapons to Ukraine and replacement equipment will only arrive in about two or three years. With that you actually invite an attack,” Helme previously told the AP news agency. During the campaign, Kallas emphasized the great importance that Estonia has for Ukrainian military success. “Our aggressive neighbor has not disappeared and will not disappear,” she warned.

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