fog.png
Monday December 9th, 2019 1:04PM

Estonia faces complex coalition talks amid far-right gains

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Estonia faces complex coalition talks Monday after a nationalist and anti-immigration party more than doubled its support to finish third in the general election — a result being closely watched across Europe as a sign of surging popularity for far-right populists.

The center-right Reform Party, which is the main opposition in the Baltic country's outgoing parliament, won the most votes in Sunday's election but nowhere near a majority. It has ruled out any deal with the far-right Estonian Conservative People's Party, known as EKRE, which more than doubled its seat tally compared to the 2015 election.

With European Parliament elections due in May, many political observers on the continent had looked at the Estonia vote as a barometer as to whether the far right would continue to make gains.

Martin Helme, who heads the EKRE along with his father, said he sees the party's gains as part of a trend in Europe and other parts of the world.

"I think Estonia is no different than almost all other countries in Europe, where there's a serious public demand for political parties who will stand up against the globalist agenda and the ever-increasing movement of power from (European Union) member states to Brussels," he said.

From Poland and Hungary to France and Italy, Europe has in recent months seen an increase in support for populist parties that often have a nationalist agenda.

Last year, an election in neighboring Latvia showed strong support for pro-Russia and populist factions to become the second- and third-largest in the Baltic country.

The outcome of Estonia's elections bears similarities with what happened in Sweden across the Baltic Sea. There, the Sweden Democrats which has neo-Nazi roots, became the third largest party after making great strides in the Sept. 9 national election.

But none of the other Swedish parties wanted to have them in any government, sparking four months of a political deadlock that ended in January with a two-party, center-left minority governing coalition headed by the Social Democrats — the country's largest political group.

In Estonia, Reform leader Kaja Kallas is expected to be tasked to form the Cabinet and emerge as the country's first female prime minister after her party finished with 28.8 percent of the vote.

Prime Minister Juri Ratas' Center Party garnered 23.1 percent, and EKRE ended up with 19 seats in the 101-seat Riigikogu legislature after grabbing 17.8 percent of the vote. By comparison, the party won seven seats with 8.1 percent four years ago.

Kallas, if she is tasked with forming a government, has a number of options to consider.

Observers say the most likely scenario is that Kallas will ask the Social Democrats and the conservative Fatherland — two junior partners in the current Cabinet — to join Reform.

Kallas took over the reins as Reform Party chairwoman only last year. The party had struggled with an internal crisis and weak leadership since losing the prime minister's post in November 2016.

Kallas is the daughter of Siim Kallas, one of the Reform Party's creators in the early 1990s and a former prime minister.

Estonia has a population of 1.3 million, and nearly 1 million voters were eligible to elect parliamentary representatives to four-year terms. Turnout was 63.1 percent, according to preliminary figures, which is slightly lower than the 2015 election.

The country, which joined the EU and NATO in 2004, also borders Russia and is known for its tech startups.

___

Jan M. Olsen contributed to this report from Copenhagen, Denmark.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News, AP World News, AP Business
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Estonia faces complex coalition talks amid far-right gains
The center-right party in Estonia that won the most votes in the Baltic country's general election has vowed to exclude a far-right populist party from difficult coalition talks that lie ahead
4:49AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Egypt releases prominent photojournalist after 5-year term
Egypt releases prominent photojournalist who served 5 years over alleged involvement in 2013 sit-in by Islamists
4:24AM ( 37 minutes ago )
3rd time lucky? Nissan ex-chair Ghosn hoping for his release
Lawyer for Nissan ex-chair Ghosn hopeful he will gain release on bail
4:08AM ( 53 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Spielberg's push against Netflix at the Oscars hits a nerve
Spielberg's push against Netflix at the Oscars hits a cultural nerve and reignites the streaming versus theatrical debate
3:32AM ( 1 hour ago )
Bill Clinton has 2020 advice; few candidates are seeking it
Former President Bill Clinton is taking meetings with some Democrats running for the White House, but the early front-runners and the women have stayed away
3:30AM ( 1 hour ago )
At least 23 dead as tornadoes, severe storms ravage South
At least 23 people, including children, are dead from a tornado that roared into southeast Alabama, part of a severe storm system that caused catastrophic damage and unleashed other tornadoes around the Southeast
3:28AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
On Selma anniversary, Booker calls for new fight for justice
Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker says anniversary of infamous "Bloody Sunday" attack is a time to recommit to fight for justice
12:56AM ( 4 hours ago )
US closes Jerusalem consulate, demoting Palestinian mission
US officially shutters its consulate in Jerusalem, downgrading the status of its main diplomatic mission to the Palestinians by folding it into the U.S. Embassy to Israel
12:46AM ( 4 hours ago )
House prepares to expand obstruction probe
Declaring it's "very clear" President Donald Trump obstructed justice, a top House Democrat is requesting documents Monday from more than 60 people from Trump's administration, family and business
12:36AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online National News
The Latest: Sanders says much work to do for civil rights
Sanders says it's "incomprehensible" that people of color and poor people are still fighting for voting rights
12:49AM ( 4 hours ago )
House to query 60 Trump officials in obstruction probe
Declaring it's "very clear" President Donald Trump obstructed justice, a top House Democrat is requesting documents Monday from more than 60 people from Trump's administration, family and business
9:34PM ( 7 hours ago )
The Latest: Booker tells Selma crowd to make 'dream real'
Sen. Cory Booker delivered a fiery address on Sunday to hundreds commemorating the civil rights march that came to be known as "Bloody Sunday"
7:50PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Elections
The Latest: Estonian opposition leader derides govt policies
Estonians have started voting in parliamentary election where PM Juri Ratas' Center Party is pitted against center-right opposition Reform Party as populists are seen making inroads
6:52AM ( 22 hours ago )
Biden walks back praise for Pence following criticism
Former Vice President Joe Biden's tendency to talk about his friendships with Republicans landed him in trouble when he called his successor, Mike Pence, a "decent guy."
10:01PM ( 3 days ago )
APNewsBreak: Pre-election lawsuit threat led to Iowa payout
The state of Iowa quickly settled sexual harassment claims against an agency director for $4.15 million after one victim's lawyer threatened to sue before the November election and to dig into the harasser's association with Gov. Kim Reynolds
3:50PM ( 3 days ago )
General Election News
Asian stocks rise on reports US, China close to trade deal
Asian stocks rise after report Washington, Beijing are close to agreement to end tariff war
2:35AM ( 2 hours ago )
China accuses US of 'double standard' over Huawei claims
China says the U.S. is using a double standard in claiming Chinese law requires equipment maker Huawei
1:26AM ( 3 hours ago )
Indonesia and Australia sign pact eliminating many tariffs
Indonesia and Australia signed a free trade agreement that will eliminate many tariffs, allow Australian-owned hospitals to be set up in the giant Southeast Asian country and increase work visas for young Indonesians
12:30AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business
Egypt releases prominent photojournalist after 5-year term
Egypt releases prominent photojournalist who served 5 years over alleged involvement in 2013 sit-in by Islamists
4:24AM ( 37 minutes ago )
3rd time lucky? Nissan ex-chair Ghosn hoping for his release
Lawyer for Nissan ex-chair Ghosn hopeful he will gain release on bail
4:08AM ( 53 minutes ago )
Algeria president's offer to protesters fails to quell anger
Angry Algerians have protested into the night despite President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's offer of a new constitution and a truncated next term
3:46AM ( 1 hour ago )
Fledgling gangland news fills niche neglected by other media
Defenders of a fledgling brand of newsgathering that involves going into street-gang territory to do interviews say gangland reporters are filling a neglected news niche
3:46AM ( 1 hour ago )
US says closing consulate in Jerusalem no policy shift
US officially shutters its consulate in Jerusalem, downgrading the status of its main diplomatic mission to the Palestinians by folding it into the U.S. Embassy to Israel
3:41AM ( 1 hour ago )