Pundits: No Surprise in Tallinn
Commentators have agreed that the Center Party's election victory in Tallinn did not come as a surprise.
ERR news director Urmet Kook said that the poll predictions were fairly accurate.
"The Center Party's overall result in Estonia, for instance: Emor had predicted 32 percent and the actual result was 31.9 percent. In the broad scheme of things, the Emor predictions were quite accurate. Perhaps the biggest divergence between forecasts and reality was the Social Democratic Party's result in Tallinn, which was significantly lower than predicted by Emor," Kook said, speaking on ETV this morning.
University of Tartu political science researcher Kristjan Vassil offered an explanation for the Center Party victory.
"These are voters who have strong ties with their party and there is no sense for other parties to elbow their way in there. At the same time, there are people among the voters of IRL and the Social Dems who are open to competition between parties; they live in a space where changing a vote is possible and they are considerably more open-minded," he said.
By contrast, Kook said that if the other parties don't try to take a slice of the Center Party's playing fields, election results will continue to repeat themselves. "The reason that things have gone this way is that it doesn't occur to the parties to deal with Russian voters until a month before the elections. Actually, consideration should be given to the idea that we shouldn't have a direct referendum," Kook said.
The Tartu result, according to Vassil, was more of a surprise, since two citizens' election coalitions managed to gather a combined six votes in the city council. "These are two relatively new and unfamiliar forces in the Tartu City Council," he said.
Back in Tallinn, however, the citizens' election coalition Free Tallinn Citizen failed to enter the city council, fostering claims among opposition parties that its votes were wasted.
Kook said the loss amplified the Center Party's victory. "I understand why IRL and the Social Dems are bitter in their comments. At the same time, we will never know whether these voters would have even voted, if not for the candidacy of Free Tallinn Citizen. I think the Center Party's win would certainly have been borderline," Kook said.