Estonia’s prime minister was preparing to form a new government Monday, a day after his ruling Reform Party won parliamentary elections. Taavi Roivas’ center-right group, which includes the Social Democrats, lost seven seats in the vote and now has 45 lawmakers in the 101-seat Parliament, prompting negotiations with smaller parties to form a majority coalition. Roivas met the country’s head of state before discussions with other party leaders. At their meeting, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves suggested forming a broad coalition, saying the small nation of 1.3 million people “needs a responsible and capable government … (to) maintain Estonia’s security, governance and local government reforms.”
Estonia’s ruling party is poised to retain power in a ballot on Sunday as concern the conflict in Ukraine will herald similar unrest helps isolate its main challenger. Prime Minister Taavi Roivas’s Reform Party has as much as 23 percent support, neck and neck with the Center Party, which is backed by more than three quarters of ethnic-Russian voters, the latest polls show. Even if the Center Party wins, potential coalition partners such as the Social Democrats or Isamaa ja Res Publica Liit have ruled out an alliance with it. The Baltic region, which evaded Soviet control as communism fell 24 years ago, has been jolted by the Ukraine conflict, the annexation of Crimea and Russian fighter-jet activity on its borders. Concern Vladimir Putin will foment disquiet among ethnic Russians in Estonia, a European Union and NATO member, prompted Reform to add defense pledges to promises of tax cuts.
Former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe’s party charged Wednesday that its showing in Sunday’s legislative elections was affected by what it said were serious irregularities in the vote count. Uribe’s opposition Democratic Center party said it had evidence that 250,000 votes in its favor were not counted, “which would substantially change the election results and the composition of the Congress.”
In the face of an apparent electoral drubbing, the leader of Nepal’s largest Maoist party demanded a halt to the nation’s vote counting on Thursday because of what he called widespread vote fraud. “Serious national and international forces are behind this, and we demand a suspension to vote counting,” said the Maoist leader, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the head of the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Mr. Dahal said that election workers had smashed ballot boxes and accepted false ballots. He called for an independent investigation and warned that his party might rejoin hard-line Maoists and refuse to participate in the Constituent Assembly if his demands were not met. “We will not join” the assembly, he declared, as Maoist party members marched outside the party’s headquarters, shouting, “We are ready to fight!”
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said a member of his party has admitted to manipulating e-votes in the Reform Party’s leadership election last week and in another election in 2011. “The party secretary has a specific individual’s explanation in written form in which the individual admits to having committed the acts at hand. And the individual has suggested that he or she did this at the request and knowing of someone else,” Ansip told ERR radio, without revealing any names as the investigation is still in progress.