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KOHTLA-JARVE, Estonia – One of Europe’s most determined pro-Ukrainian governments faces a challenge in Estonia’s national elections on Sunday from far-right parties seeking to capitalize on frustration over rising costs of living. ing.

As polls predict, an election win for Prime Minister Kadja Karas’s liberal Reform Party and a successful coalition would cement the Baltic’s pro-European orientation. Estonia will also adopt more green energy and maintain a policy of continuing to accept refugees from Ukraine.

But the far-right EKRE party’s pledge to slash energy bills by opposing the transition to green energy has become part of the country, as has its pledge to stop accepting more Ukrainian refugees. It is popular in

Karas and EKRE leader Martin Herme told Reuters this week they hoped to lead the next coalition government.

“I would like to remain prime minister, but it is up to the voters to decide.

However, according to Kantar Emor pollster Aivar Voog, the election could result in an EKRE-led coalition, but Kallas has pledged never to work with him.

Herme’s supporters, mostly from rural areas, want his party to address the cost of living crisis, curb immigration, and ensure their safety should they face “a possible war with Russia.” He said he trusted him to protect him.

EKRE’s popularity soared during the Covid-19 pandemic and benefited from Estonia’s inflation rate reaching 23% last summer. This is the best in the Eurozone, more than double his average.

“People are really scared of the future and the major parties, especially the ruling party, don’t have a real answer,” Herme said.

He said his government would help Ukraine in its fight against Russian forces that invaded it a year ago, but would not accept any more Ukrainian refugees.

With a population of 1.3 million people, a quarter of whom are Russian, the country will host 62,000 Ukrainian refugees in 2022.

“This is putting a huge strain on our budgets, accommodation, education and health systems, as well as our overall cultural situation,” Helme said. “I cannot accept any more.” Estonia’s pro-Ukrainian government faces election test amid cost of living crisis

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