Candidate Selection in Estonian Parties Represented in Parliament, 1999-2003
This article treats the selection of candidates in six Estonian parliamentary parties in two election periods from 1999-2003 in order to evaluate how democratic the selection was and the changes in the process.
The basis of the evaluations is empirical material whose backbone is formed by the author’s interviews with party members and officials, likewise by available internal party documents. It emerged that behind all of the changes in selection principles was party members’ dissatisfaction with leadership style. At the same time, changes in selection principles do not themselves guarantee success in the next elections. Thus in the opinion of one Pro Patria Union member, thorough reforms in putting together the candidate list caused candidates who were well known to a wide base to be left out to be relegated to back bench positions.