No. 20




The problem of proportionality in elections in Tallinn

17 December 2009


RiTo No. 20, 2009

  • Rein Toomla

    Rein Toomla

    Teacher, Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu

The writer recalls that in late 2008, the Riigikogu began discussing possible amendment of the Local Government Council Election Act.

The discussion was initiated by Chancellor of Justice Indrek Teder, stemming from an interpellation that drew attention to the conflicts with the principle of proportionality in the formation of the Tallinn city council. Above all, the problem was that the distribution of seats on the Tallinn city council by city district was not in conformity with the number of voters in the districts. The other level was related to the number of votes cast and seats won in the elections. If a party receives one-quarter of the votes in an election, but takes half of the seats in the representative assembly, then this cannot possibly be a case of proportional distribution. In the course of the search for solutions, the Riigikogu became more politicized and polarized, as this was essentially the first time in our political history where the idea behind amendments to an election act was to resolve the political problems of the day. The writer expresses hope that the case described will be the first and last, for if similar cases are repeated, we would be in a position where each political bloc would try to create as favourable an environment as possible for itself before elections.

Full article in Estonian