Center Party Parliament faction head Kadri Simson said fresh party popularity polls, which show the Center Party 8 points worse off compared to last month, point to the fact that many party supporters are disappointed over the end-of-November congress, which saw Edgar Savisaar retain his place as party head, beating Simson in internal elections.
She said the party has the potential to be Estonia's leading party, but for that, all of the party's forces must be involved.
“The sharp drop in support is a clear message from the electorate about the post-congress behavior, which has been expressed in repelling one side and holding the opinion of nearly half of party members to be void. The Estonian peoples' expectations were high before the elections, they believed the Center Party could be an alternative to the politics of the current government. The fresh rating reflects disappointment of the party's politics and behavior, which has been to snub new ideas and avoid the responsibility of taking charge in government,” Simson said.
She said November's high rating shows the party's high potential, especially among the ethnic Estonian group.
According to an ERR-commissioned poll, the Center Party is Estonia's most popular party with a rating of 25 percent, although a month ago, before the congress, that rating was 33 percent. The Reform Party climbed from 17 to 20 percent during the last 30 days.
New Center Party board member Jaanus Karilaid, who backed Savisaar at the internal elections and was promoted to the post after the internal election, said the drop was sharp, but expected as the media's spotlight decreased after the election. “Also, in that 8 percent there are those who waited for a different result from the congress – those who lined up against Savisaar are yet to get over it,” he said.
Strong competition on the right wing
IRL deputy head Marko Mihkelson said his party is not happy with its drop in the ratings, from 8 to 7 percent, the only other party to lose in the monthly ratings other than the Center Party.
Mihkelson said there is strong competition in the right wing and the winner will be the one with a long-term strategy. “A great deal depends on how one or another party moves towards the elections,” Mihkelson said.
Editor: J.M. Laats