The New YorkTimes

After Cuts, Voters Back Ruling Bloc in Estonia
The New York Times

Early results in Estonia’s parliamentary election on Sunday showed the ruling coalition headed for a victory, in a remarkable show of support for a government that has imposed harsh austerity measures to lift the country out of recession.

Final counts showed that the two coalition parties — the Reform Party and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union — had garnered 29 percent and 21 percent of the vote respectively, granting them a majority in the new Parliament. The main opposition party, the Center Party, had 23 percent of the vote, and the Social Democratic Party had 17 percent.

The vote reflects approval for a government that continued to embrace laissez-faire capitalism during the painful months after the global downturn. After Estonia’s economy shrank nearly 15 percent, the state reduced its budget by the equivalent of 9 percent of gross domestic product. Demand fell steeply, and unemployment crept up, early in 2010, to 19.8 percent.

Meanwhile, the economy has been projected to grow by 4 percent this year, and unemployment has dropped to around 10 percent, according to the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund.