Estonian Centre Party
Published 17th February, 2011
The Estonian Centre Party (K) was founded on 12th October 1991 as an offshoot of the Estonian Popular Front which had been in the forefront of the post 1988 independence movement.
K (previously EKe and ER) describes itself as a centrist, social liberal party and is a member of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR). It claims to be the largest party in Estonia with over 12,000 members.
The Party was, at one point, known as the People’s Centre Party.
In the September 1992 general election the party won 15 seats and 12.2% of the vote, giving them third position. They retained this position in March 1995 with 16 seats and entered into coalition government with the Estonian Coalition Party and Reform Party. However, they were forced to go into opposition after a scandal involving the secret taping of talks with other politicians.
In the 1999 general election they increased their representation to 28 seats (+12) and came first. Although not initially the governing party, they did eventually join forces with the Estonian Reform Party in January 2002 until the next general election in March 2003.
In the 2003 election the Centre Party retained its 28 seats. Although the largest party in parliament, once more, they were denied the chance to govern with a coalition of the Res Publica, the Reform Party and People’s Union of Estonia forming a government. However, in March 2005 they did form a government with the Reform Party and Estonian People’s Union. This lasted until the March 2007 general election.
In the 2007 election the Centre Party increased its number of seats by one to 29 seats in the 101 seat Riigikogu, but came second to the Estonian Reform Party who took 31 seats, and is the largest opposition party.
The Estonian Centre Party has done well in local elections, especially in the capital Tallinn.