Saarts: Conservative merge currently unlikely
Political scientist Tõnis Saarts said the merge on conservative parties cannot be ruled out but currently it seems unlikely. Recent polls show competition on the right wing is strong, with IRL's youth wing calling for a merger.
“The splintered conservatives has led to the cementing of power in Estonia in the hands of the liberals, and in Tallinn, in the hands of the left-centrists. Which means their political strategy is one of status quo,” Linda Eichler, head of IRL's youth organization, said.
She explained that the liberals and the left-centrists have no competition and do not have to make uncomfortable decisions.
IRL MP Viktoria Ladõnskaja said IRL does not support its youth wing's proposal as the party has very different take on things compared to EKRE and the Free Party, the other right-leaning parties in the Parliament.
Free Party Chairman Andres Herkel said cooperation, such as in coalition, should come before any merger.
EKRE Parliament faction head Martin Helme said his party does not want people who have been involved in corruption scandals. He said IRL should prove its conservative nature on topics such as migration and the border treaty.
“If IRL begins to score below the election threshold [5 percent], then the chance that they try to join the Reform Party or begin talks would be the only realistic perspective how some kind of merger or consolidation on among the right-leaning parties could take place,” Saarts said.
Saarts said IRL's popularity depends on the fate of EKRE and the Free Party. If there is a chance that the Free Party does not make the cut at the next general elections, Saarts said, the party could begin to break apart.
According to the latest polls, IRL is backed by 7 percent of the public. EKRE is backed by 10 and the Free Party by 13 percent. At the March 1 election this year, IRL won 13.7 percent of the vote and 14 seats. The Free Party won 8.7 and 8 seats and EKRE 8.1 percent and 7 seats.