University of Tartu political scientist Rein Toomla said that, despite presently serving as antitheses for one another, both the Reform Party and the Center Party lean towards a liberal worldview and could, in the long run, merge.
Toomla told Postimees today that Estonia, in its short independence-era history, has had plenty of precedents of disbanded and merged parties, such as the Coalition Party, which was in government in the 1990s, and the People's Union, which has re-branded itself into the more right-wing Conservative People's Party.
Speaking about Sunday's election results, Toomla said that since the Bronze Night riots, Russian voters have completely moved behind the Center Party, as before 2007, 20 percent of ethnic Russian voters in Estonia backed the Reform Party, and another 15 percent voted for Res Publica (now part of IRL).
In a separate interview, Toomla told uudised.err.ee today that the passivity of Valdo Randpere's campaign is to be blamed for the Reform Party's weak election results, adding that voters who had previously backed both parties have leaned towards IRL.
The relationship between the two government partners could also suffer as the result of IRL's success, Toomla said.