The Baltic Region

2015 Issue №2(24)

Estonian Political Parties in the mid-2010s

Abstract

The article provides an analysis of political party system of the Republic of Estonia in the mid-2010s. The analysis is based on the works of Moris Duverger. As one might expect, the establishment of proportionate electoral system in Estonia has resulted in the formation of a multi-party system, in which no single party dominates in the parliament even in a short run. The article demonstrates that though Estonian political party system develops in line with the tendencies typical to political party systems of most European countries, some of its elements are more common to postcommunist countries. It indicates that the political party system in Estonia has stabilized throughout the past decade. Today, five sixths of voters support one of the four main political parties. A minority of voters does not consider any of the four dominant parties as a representative of their interests; thus, they vote for parties that had not been previously represented in the parliament. This allowed for two minor political parties to pass into the parliament at 2015 elections: the Estonian Conservative People’s Party, and Free Party. In the long run the minor parties will be able to keep parliamentary seats depending on their ability to build coalitions, either with the three governing parties — Reform Party, Pro Patria and Republic Union, and Social-Democratic Party, or with opposition Centre Party. The article considers the impact of the split in the Estonian society between ethnic Estonians and Russophonic people on political party system. It demonstrates that the majority of Russophonic voters in Estonia support the Centre Party, every major political party in the country has its Russophonic voters, while Estonian United Left Party, which promotes itself as a particular representative of the country’s Russophonic minority, remains a marginal political force.

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The Role of Political Elites in the Development of Politics of Memory in the Baltic States

Abstract

The article focuses on multiple cases of the politicization of history by the Baltic political elites. Three states of development of politics of memory in the Baltic States are identified. Problems of political exploitation of the past are scrutinized in the context of political life and international relations. It is concluded that the narratives of the past where nazi and Soviet legacies are equated are actively promoted on the pan-European level. Elites of the Baltic States play a salient role in this process and enhance ties with the elites of the Eastern Europe, expert and political communities of the Western Europe and USA. The dominant trends in the development of the historical politics in the Baltic countries are the administrative and legislative instruments for approval of the preferred narratives of the past, as well as an active political work at the international level aimed at the inclusion of the Baltic narratives of the past into the European politics of memory. Historical politics of the Baltic States shows the Baltic countries as the victims of "two totalitarianisms" ("Nazi and Soviet occupation"), and this point of view is widely used as a foreign policy tool. The politicization of the "anti-totalitarianism" issue is now a popular foreign policy tool that not only serves the interests of the Baltic and Eastern European politicians, but also finds ideological supporters in Western Europe and the United States.

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Polish Accession to the European Union: Participating Institutions

Abstract

In May 2014 it was aready ten years since Poland’s accession to the European Union. The accession was preceded by a long period of political action and negotiations between the Polish and the EU institutions. The process of integration was extremely complex. It covered almost all areas of economic, legal and civil aspects of the aspiring country’s economy, in which all necessary requirements had to be met. The aim of the article was to present the institutional framework created for efficient implementation of the process of accession. The considerations involved especially an institutional method. The research resulted in poining out both the actually efficient and less efficient bodies participating in the process of integration.

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