Herkel: Reform Party likely to talk to SDE and IRL first

Martin Helme (left) and Andres Herkel (ERR)
3/2/2015 1:29 PM
Category: Politics

Free Party chairman Andres Herkel told ETV this morning that the Reform Party, which won Sunday's general election, will probably first open coalition talks with the Social Democrats and IRL.

He said there is common ground in the Free Party's election program with many parties. “At the elections we have focused on problems tied to democracy. Including those problems from the People's Assembly [a citizen's parliament inititaive from several years ago] which got stuck in Parliament,” he said, pointing to party financing laws.

Herkel said state reform is also important to his party, adding that problems might arise from defining what exactly needs to be changed in the running of the state.

Martin Helme, board member of the Conservative People's Party (EKRE), the other party to break into Parliament after starting to rise in the polls only in the last few months, said they have enough common ground with the Reform Party to open coalition talks.

He said there are similarities on the topics of economic growth and increasing birth rates in a country concerned about depopulation and sustainability.

One of the topics which could pose a threat to EKRE-Reform Party talks is the Cohabitation Act, opposition to which propelled EKRE's popularity. Reform Party pushed through the bill, which gives same-sex couples more legal rights, last year.

The chance of Reform Party, given its bevy of options, courting EKRE is considered unlikely by observers.

Free Party and EKRE results

Parliament expanded from four to six parties after Sunday's elections, but the likelihood of new parties only prevailed a few months ago when the polls began to swing in favor of the Free Party and EKRE.

The Free Party won eight seats with an 8.7 percent take while EKRE won one seat less with 8.1 percent of the total vote.

The Free Party recorded its best results in Harju County, the major islands and Haapsalu, and in Tartu. In Harju and Rapla district where he ran, Artur Talvik - who has occasionally been tipped as the party's PM candidate - collected 7,305 votes, far more than former IRL prime minister Juhan Parts, despite the vast difference in political ad budgets. The party fared slightly worse in Tallinn, although Andres Herkel and Ain Lutsepp picked up more than 4,000 votes each.

The Free Party did less well in Ida-Viru County and in less populated election districts.

EKRE, on the other hand, has a far clearer power-base in Pärnu County, where it came third with 18.2 percent of the vote. Party Chairman Mart Helme collected 6,715 votes in the Pärnu County district, but EKRE's other candidates in the same district only won a combined 500 votes.

EKRE did well in smaller districts, but only won around 5-6 percent in Tallinn and Tartu. A relative unknown, Henn Põlluaas, running in the Harju and Rapla joint district, beat Parts by around 100 votes.

J.M. Laats

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