Estonians go to the polls on Sunday for parliamentary elections amid increased tensions with Russia. Opinion polls suggest the left-leaning Centre Party and the rightist Reform Party, already coalition partners, will form a new government. While casting his ballot in advance voting, the country’s president urged people not to abstain, saying that would amount to “aggression again the state”.
Electronic voting was introduced for these polls, with voting via the Internet open for two days last week. Estonia, which broke away from the former Soviet Union in 1991, has been a European Union and NATO member since 2004. Tension with Russia increased recently when nationalists, backed by the Estonian Prime Minister, passed a law to remove a World War Two statue of a Red Army soldier from the capital. Russia slammed the action as insulting to the memories of the fighters of fascism. But many Estonians simply see the statue as a reminder of 50 years of Soviet rule.