Analyst: Election will be won by party that defines 'primary conflict'

Tõnis Saarts is a political scientist at Tallinn University. (Scanpix/Postimees)
1/19/2015 9:29 AM
Category: Politics

Political scientist Tõnis Saarts told ETV that Estonia's sizeable swing voter segment usually gravitates toward the political force that is best able to express the basic conflict at stake at the elections.

Three main conflicts are especially prominent with 45 days to go until the election, said Saarts, one of several experts to be surveyed by a weekly news magazine "Nädal."

"There is potential for the Russia question to become the main theme," he said. "Another one is that the left-right conflict - taxes and people's subsistence - will emerge."

Another possibility is that stagnation - meaning the Reform Party with its support for the status quo versus calls for change from other parties - will be key, he said.

Annika Uudelepp of the Praxis Centre for Policy Research disagreed, saying that "reform versus stagnation" could not be a main conflict, as all four major parties were now offering new ideas that met society's expectations.

"All of the parties are trying to answer the question of how we can get on better with our salaried work and get over the malaise."

Saarts said it could not be denied that Estonia has moved to the left.

"It's true that Estonian politics, election pledges, party platforms have all shifted somewhat more to the left than ten years ago and there has been very clear social pressure behind it," he said.

He said that today's voters would be certain to reject the mid-2000s-vintage liberalist slogans that 'everyone is responsible for their own happiness' and that the best state is a lean state.

K. Rikken

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