Lauristin and Kelam Will Represent Estonia Well in European Parliament, Says Herkel
Former IRL MP Andres Herkel, who is in the process of setting up a new right-wing party, said IRL's Tunne Kelam and Social Democrat Marju Lauristin will defend Estonian interests in the European Parliament as they belong to the two largest parties there, respectively the European People's Party (EPP) and the Socialists and Democrats (S&D).
The EPP is the largest party in the European Parliament with 212 seats while S&D has 187 seats, out of 751. The Reform Party and the Center Party belong to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats of Europe (ALDE), which won 72 seats.
He said in his blog today that although the primary attention was fixed on Reform Party and Tarand, both veteran politicians - Lauristin, 74, and Kelam, 77 - are great role models, although there has been criticism that the parties could have opted for a younger generation.
Political commentators have said the EP elections are a chance for smaller parties, Herkel said, as the elections are less important, but that rule does not work for Estonia as protest votes go to independent Indrek Tarand and those unsatisfied with Estonia's internal political situation are not prone to experiment, as many in the west have with extreme right-wing parties.
He said the four main parties, which collected 74.1 percent of all votes, are again expected to drop votes at next year's parliamentary elections as many outside the elite are running against them, but they will have to find a better political outlet.
Speaking about the Center Party, Herkel said Jüri Ratas and Kadri Simson have been waiting in the shadows of Edgar Savisaar but were bested by Yana Toom and Mihhail Stalnuhhin, adding that the big question is who will take over the party. He said that it's unlikely that Yana Toom will defect from Center, as numerous politicians have done in recent years.