Estonia - Political parties

The Independent Communist Party of Estonia split from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in January 1991. The Pro Patria Party, the Estonian Social Democratic Party, the Christian-Democratic Union of Estonia, the Estonian National Independence Party, and Estonian Green Movement were among the many parties that emerged in recent years. The Popular Front of Estonia, founded in 1988 to unite pro-independence forces, has lost much of its influence and role since the attainment of independence. The non-Estonian, mainly Russian, interests are represented by the Inter-Movement of the Working People of Estonia and the Union of Work Collectives, both founded in1988. In addition, a Russian Democratic Movement has emerged that specifically represents the Russian-speaking population of Estonia.

In the parliamentary elections of March 1995, the Coalition Party and Rural Union (made up of four parties: Coalition Party, Country People's Party, Farmer's Assembly, and Pensioners' and Families' League) won 41 seats; Reform Party-Liberals, 19; Center Party, 16; Pro Patria, 8; Our Home is Estonia, 6; Moderates (consisting of the Social Democratic Party and Rural Center Party), 2; and Right-Wingers, 5.

The Pro Patria and the Estonian National Independence Party, which had allied themselves in the 1995 election, joined forces at the end of that year to form the Fatherland Union. In the March 1999 elections, the Fatherland Union and two other parties formed a broader coalition that won a narrow majority in parliament, garnering a total of 53 parliamentary seats (Fatherland Union, 18; Estonian Reform Party, 18; Moderates,17). However, the party winning the single largest number of seats was the Estonian Center Party, with 28. The remaining seats were distributed as follows: the Estonian Coalition Party, 7; the Estonian Rural People's Union, 7; and the United People's Party, 6.

In the 2 March 2003 elections, the Center Party and Res Publica, a new political party, each won 28 seats in the Riigikogu; the Reform Party took 19 seats; the People's Union won 13; the Fatherland Union took 7 seats; and the Moderates won 6. The Res Publica, Reform, and People's Union parties formed a coalition government, securing 60 of 101 seats in parliament.

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