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Estonia - Electoral Law
Election to the European Parliament : 13 June 2004 - Electoral Procedure

1. LEGAL BASIS
The legal basis for the elections to the European Parliament is established by the European Parliament Election Act, passed on 18 December 2002 and entered into force on 23 January 2003. Amended: 18 December 2003, 21 January 2004, 9 March 2004, 14 April 2004.
2. ELECTORAL SYSTEM
Allocation of seats: Election results are determined based on the principle of proportionality. The whole country forms a single constituency. Mandates are distributed using the d’Hondt distribution method with the distribution series 1,2,3,4 etc. Candidates can be nominated as candidate lists of political parties (closed party lists) or as independent candidates.
3. REGISTRATION OF CANDIDATES
Deadline for registration: Presentation of candidates for registration ends at 6 p.m. (17.00 CET) on the forty-fifth day before election day. (29 April 2004)
Deposit: Before the presentation of candidates for registration, a political party or independent candidate shall transfer an amount of five times the minimum monthly wage (12 400 EEK = 790 EUR) per each person presented for registration to the account of the National Electoral Committee as security.

Incompatibilities: Members of the European Parliament shall not be :

  • members of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia);
  • the President of the Republic;
  • members of the Government of the Republic;
  • persons serving in offices appointed by the Riigikogu, the President of the Republic, the Government of the Republic, the Prime Minister or the head of a government agency or another state agency, except the chairman of a board if the appointment is made by the Riigikogu pursuant to law;
  • the Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Estonia;
  • regular members of the Defence Forces;
  • a rural municipality or city mayor;
  • members of a rural municipality or city council;
  • members of the Commission of the European Communities;
  • judges, Advocates-General and the Registrar of the European Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance of the European Communities;
  • other officials or servants of the institutions of the European Communities or of the specialised bodies attached to them or of the European Central Bank.
4. POLLING DAY : 13 JUNE 2004 (from 9am until 8 pm)
The count begins: 13 June one hour before the close of voting in all Member States of the European Union. The advance votes will be counted during the afternoon, the counting begins at 7 p.m. (18.00 CET).
5. VOTING / STANDING FOR ELECTION
The right to vote includes every Estonian citizen who has attained 18 years of age by the day of the elections with the exemption of those who have been divested of his or her legal competence by a court. The right to vote includes also every European Union citizen who has attained 18 years of age by the day of the elections, who has right to vote in his or her home Member State and who’s permanent residence is in Estonia, i.e. the address details of his or her residence have been entered in the Estonian population register.
The right to be elected includes every Estonian and European Union citizen with the right to vote and who has attained 21 years of age. Regular Members of the Defence Forces have no rights to stand as candidates in elections to the European Parliament.
6. ELECTION CAMPAIGN
Funding: There is no fixed ceiling for campaign expenses. The election campaigns of political parties are financed by themselves. Money for campaigns comes from: membership fees, donations from private persons, income from party property, loans and allocations from the state budget (based on the Riigikogu election results). Anonymous donations from legal entities are not permitted. There is no reimbursement for campaign expenses.
Official campaign starting date: There is no official campaign starting date.

Media access: The Broadcasting Act states the requirement for political balance as being one of the ground principles of broadcasting activities. The highest authority of Estonian Radio and Estonian Television is the Broadcasting Council. According to the Broadcasting Act, the Broadcasting Council establishes the rules of procedure for election campaigns conducted through Estonian Radio and Estonian Television. In commercial broadcasting organisations broadcasting time can be used if paid for.

TV&Radio: activities during the election campaign:

As to 13 May the "Media Plans" are as follows:

Estonian Public TV (ETV) is the only TV channel that has special election programs and also a special election night program:

  1. A four series special program, to introduce the candidates and debate about various political issues, called "Election Studio" will be on air prime time 21.40-22.40 (local time) on the National Public TV Channel on:
    19 May
    26 May
    2 June
    9 June
  2. A special TV program will be on air in the evening of 13 June. The program will be transmitted from the top floor of SAS Radisson Hotel (26 floor). Turnout, late-night (post 23:00) results will be analysed with studio-guests. Numerous switches to other European countries will be carried out. The first part of the programme will be on air at 20.50-21.00 (19.50-20.00 CET), and starting from 23.40 (22.40 CET) till the results have become clear.
  3. Commercial radio KUKU will have election specials till 9 June
Opinion polls: There are no restrictions on publishing opinion polls. The law does not prohibit executing and publishing opinion polls on the polling day.