Since 1988, 68 parties have existed in Estonia. Most of them ceased to exist in the 1990s due to a law which came into force on December 1, 1998, requiring parties to have 1,000 members to be eligible for registration. In 1999, 18 parties remained. Since then, the number of the parties has started to slowly decrease – in 2014 there were officially 9 parties. Before the national elections in 2015, 2 new parties were founded, thus bringing the number of parties in Estonia to 11.
On March 1, 2015, new members for the parliament of the Republic of Estonia, Riigikogu, were elected. 101 seats of the parliament were divided between 6 parties. The organizational structures of these parties are introduced below:
Reform Party (REFP, Reformierakond) – 30 seats. Founded in 1994, when the Liberal-Democratic Party (Liberaaldemokraatlik Partei) and Reform Party initiative group merged.
Centre Party (CENP, Keskerakond) – 27 seats. Founded in 1991.
Social Democratic Party (SDP, Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Erakond) – 15 seats.
The current party was formed after two mergers:
– In 1996, the Social Democratic Party (Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Partei, established in 1990) and the Land Centre Party (Maa-Keskerakond, established in 1990) created the Moderate Party (Erakond Moodukad).
– In 1999, the People's Party (Rahvaerakond) joined and the party was renamed the People's Party Moderates (Rahvaerakond Moodukad). In 2004, the current name was introduced.
Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (PRPU, Isamaa ja Res Publica Liit) – 14 seats. The two following mergers were important:
– In 1996 Pro Patria (Isamaa, founded in 1992) and the National Independence Party (Rahvusliku Soltumatuse Partei, founded in 1988) joined together to form the new Pro Patria Union (Isamaaliit).
– In 2006, Res Publica (established in 2001) joined and the party took its current name.
Free Party (FRP, Vabaerakond) – 8 seats. Founded in 2014.
Conservative People's Party (CONP, Konservatiivne Rahvaerakond) – 7 seats. Th e current name was taken in 2013. Before that it was called the People's Union (Rahvaliit), founded in 1999 when three parties merged: the Country Union (Maaliit, established in 1989); the Country People's Party (Maarahva Erakond, established in 1994); and the Party of Pensioners and Families (Pensionäride ja Perede Erakond, established in 1991).