Center leads party rankings, new coalition combined at 51% approval (1)

Center Party chairman and likely prime minister, Jüri Ratas, with chairman of Center's parliamentary party, Kadri Simson. (Anna Aurelia Minev/ ERR)
11/17/2016 12:31 PM
Category: News

Recent developments in Estonian politics have boosted the Center Party’s approval ratings, while the Reform Party currently in the process of leaving the government has taken a hit. A survey commissioned by ERR also brought out that support of the Social Democrats and IRL has increased.

The survey, carried out by Turu-Uuringute AS for Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR), took place between Nov. 2 and 15. This timespan included the Center Party’s getting a new chairman as well as the government crisis, the no confidence vote lost by Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas (Reform), and the coalition talks between the Center Party, the Social Democrats, and IRL.

The Center Party remains the strongest contender in the ratings at 29% approval. This is a 3% increase compared to October.

The Reform Party lost 4% compared to October and now stands at 21% approval.

The Social Democrats came in third in the survey with 13%, which means they gained 1% since last month. Right behind them was Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) with 12%, which is 2% more than the party got in October.

Led by EKRE in terms of approval ratings, the conservatives continue to have the smallest public support. Both the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) and the Free Party made it to 9% approval, which is 2% more than IRL got in October. For the Free Party, support remained unchanged.

Recent events had positive effect on political interest

The combined approval of the parties likely to form the next government, namely Center, the Social Democrats, and IRL, was 51%. This result is the first in a long time that shows the ruling coalition at more than half of total popular support.

If the Free Party should join the coalition, as is currently being negotiated, the new coalition’s support would rise to 60%.

The events of the last weeks also seem to have had a positive effect on political opinion. While in October 35% of respondents said that they had no political preference, this number shrank by 4% to 31% in November.

Pollster Juhan Kivirähk explained to ERR that the last two weeks have been a very turbulent period in Estonian politics, as the Center Party elected its new chairman and a new ruling coalition was underway.

After 17 years in government, the Reform Party now has to make way for a coalition of Center, the Social Democrats, and IRL, very likely under the leadership of Center Party chairman Jüri Ratas. The power shift is expected to bring substantial change in Estonia’s tax and economic policies, though the country’s course will remain the same in terms of defense, security, and foreign policy.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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