Home Business Economy & Politics Estonia elections 2015: Vote begins amid Russia fears

Estonia elections 2015: Vote begins amid Russia fears

Estonia is voting in a general election overshadowed by security concerns sparked by Russia’s involvement in Ukraine.

The Centre Party, which has ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin, is expected to do well.

However, the Centre Party is seen as a pariah by other parties, who are likely to band together to renew the current governing coalition.

Estonia was once part of the former Soviet Union but is now a NATO member.

PM Taavi Roivas has voiced concerns that Russia could seek to destabilize other former Soviet states.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

He has called for an “Estonian-minded government”.

At 35, Taavi Roivas is the youngest prime minister in Europe.

Estonia has seen a number of airspace violations by Russia, and last year a security official was detained by Russia and accused of spying.

The Centre Party leader, Edgar Saavisar, favours a friendlier approach to Moscow, and has suggested that Russia’s annexation of Crimea could be legitimate.

About a quarter of Estonia’s 1.3 million population are ethnic Russians, many of whom are Centre Party supporters.

Estonia is a pioneer of electronic voting, with a reported one in five casting their vote online.

Voting is due to end at 20:00 local time.

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