Why this story matters:
Last Saturday, I used my national ID-card to log on to a computer, clicked on the name of a politician and then clicked VOTE. And that was that. It took me less time than cooking breakfast. I had an omelet, by the way.
Why am I telling you this? Because Estonia's week-long electronic voting finished yesterday. An unprecedented number of people placed their vote online this year -- 185,000! For many, this might not sound like a lot, but in Estonia it means 1 in 7 people.
We still don't know the results of the local government elections because old-school pen-to-paper voting takes place this Sunday. And with all the rain we've had recently, I bet a lot of people will regret not voting online!
Details from the story:
Political forecast for the local elections
Estonia's national Eesti Ekspress weekly asked Estonia's top political analysts what they expect from these elections. Here's what they said:
- The Estonian Centre Party will stay in power for a very long time to come
- The Estonian Centre Party typically rules the regions dominated by Russian speakers, and the capital Tallinn, which has about 35% Russian speakers.
- The Estonian Center Party is popular among Russian speakers and older people. But the analysts predict this will change. They think that the party will manage to get the votes of a lot of people who previously voted against them because right-wing parties (who support the EU, flat tax, and liberal market) are having an identity crisis. Their messages are messy, confusing and they haven't found a niché.
- The strongest right-wing party is the Reform Party that ruled Estonia for 17 years before being thrown into opposition last fall.
- What will happen next? The Estonian Centre Party and the social democrats will probably join forces and get more than half of Estonians' votes in the next parliamentary elections in 2019.
There's one more very important thing you should know about the Estonian Centre Party -- they are one of those parties (almost every Eastern European country has one) with a cooperation protocol in place with United Russia, the party of Russian president Vladimir Putin.