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1992 Estonian parliamentary election

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1992 Estonian parliamentary election

← 1990 20 September 1992 1995 →

101 seats in the Riigikogu
51 seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
 
Leader Mart Laar Riivo Sinijärv Edgar Savisaar
Party Fatherland Safe Home Popular Front
Last election
Seats won 29 17 15
Seat change +29 +17 +15
Popular vote 100,828 62,329 56,124
Percentage 22.0% 13.6% 12.2%

Prime Minister of the Interim Government before election

Tiit Vähi

Elected Prime Minister

Mart Laar
Fatherland

Parliamentary elections were held in Estonia alongside presidential elections on 20 September 1992,[1] the first after regaining independence from the Soviet Union. Following the elections, the five-party Fatherland Bloc led by Mart Laar formed a government together with national-conservative Estonian National Independence Party and centrist Moderates alliance. Voter turnout was 68%.[2]

Campaign

Several alliances were formed prior to the elections:

Alliance Members Ideology
Fatherland Bloc Christian Democratic Party, Conservative People's Party, Christian Democratic Union, Republican Coalition Party, Liberal Democrat Party Radical pro-reform, Estonian nationalism, Conservatism
Estonian Citizen Party of the Estonian Republic, Society of Healthy Lifestyle of Noarootsi Estonian nationalism
Greens Party of Estonian Greens, Estonian Green Movement, European Youth Forest Action, Green Maardu Association, Green Regiment Green politics
Left Option Democratic Labour Party Democratic socialism
Moderates Social Democratic Party, Country Centre Party Centrism
Popular Front Centre Party, Popular Front, Association of Estonian Nationalities, Union of Estonian Women Moderate pro-reform
Safe Home Coalition Party, Country People's Union Centrism, Liberalism

Conduct

Several issues were recorded during the elections; numerous people voted in a booth at the same time while other voters failed to keep their votes secret, causing inconsistencies. Officials also failed to standardize in voting materials and ballot-counting. The existence of a preliminary two-week voting period also led to concerns about ballot security among officials.

The most difficult aspect of the elections was the matter of citizenship and who was eligible to vote. In order to be considered a citizen, people had to prove that they, their parents, or their grandparents were citizens of the pre-World War II Republic of Estonia. This was extremely difficult, as many families had no documentation of their citizenship. Non-citizens had to have lived in Estonia for two years, passed a test, and waited another year in order to be considered for citizenship. This made voting nearly impossible for some individuals. Outside the capital, officials determined who or who was not a citizen in a process that took 10–15 minutes, but in Tallinn, the process was more extensive as the necessary officials were not near the voting booths. This led to embarrassment on behalf of the officials and frustration by the voters, many of whom never cast their vote because of the hassle of proving citizenship.[3]

Despite these issues, the elections were largely conducted smoothly and cooperatively. There were concerns about the Russian minority within Estonia as tensions were high due to new definitions of citizenship, but confrontation was avoided. Ambassadors representing the Russian minority gave statements and held interviews to assure the public that they were open to communication and wished to arrive at a mutually beneficial solution.[3]

Results

Parties like the Popular Front of Estonia and the Estonian National Independence Party had achieved great success during the Singing Revolution and attempted to capitalize on this success during the elections. The well-established parties fared poorly, as they were unable to adapt and appeared conservative compared to new parties such as the Estonian Citizen and Fatherland Bloc. Following the elections, the Popular Front disbanded.[2]

The frivolous Independent Royalist Party of Estonia surprisingly gained eight seats in the new parliament; a satirical party that campaigned under the intention to establish Estonia as a monarchy, they spent one kroon on their election campaign.

Party Votes % Seats
Fatherland Bloc 100,828 22.0 29
Safe Home 62,329 13.6 17
Popular Front 56,124 12.2 15
Moderates 44,577 9.7 12
Estonian National Independence Party 40,260 8.8 10
Independent Royalist Party 32,638 7.1 8
Estonian Citizen 31,553 6.9 8
Estonian Union of Pensioners 17,011 3.7 0
Farmers' Assembly 13,356 2.9 0
Greens 12,009 2.6 1
Estonian Entrepreneurs' Party 10,946 2.4 1
Left Option 7,374 1.6 0
National Party of the Illegally Repressed 4,263 0.9 0
Handicapped Union 2,262 0.5 0
Mercy 1,852 0.4 0
The Democrats 744 0.2 0
Natural Law Party 368 0.1 0
Independents 19,753 4.3 0
Invalid/blank votes 9,381
Total 467,628 100 101
Registered voters/turnout 689,241 67.8
Source: Nohlen & Stöver

References

  1. ^ Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p57 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ a b Grofman, Bernard, Evald Mikkel, and Rein Taagepera. "Electoral Systems Change in Estonia, 1989–1993" Journal of Baltic Studies 30, no. 3 (September 1999): 227–49
  3. ^ a b Republic of Estonia: An Assessment of the Election to the Riigikogu and the Presidency, September 16-24, 1992 IFES
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1992 Estonian parliamentary election
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