Martin Helme to finish Isamaa exodus started by Ansip
Journalist Raimo Poom writes in an Eesti Päevaleht analysis (link in Estonian) that Andrus Ansip's efforts to add a measure of blue, black and white patriotism to the Reform Party and render it a mass political platform started the inevitable decline of Estonia's previously go-to conservative party Isamaa (formerly IRL), which work incoming EKRE chairman Martin Helme has a good chance to finish.
Even though Ansip continued working with IRL (that had become Isamaa again) in various formats, it was no longer cooperation of near-equal right-wing forces. The Reform Party grew into a major center-right party, while IRL had been left ailing and never recovered.
To respond to this hijacking of centrist voters, Isamaa plotted a course deeper into right-wing territory but was soon met by the Conservative People's Party (EKRE).
The latter have never made it a secret they want to become the sole representative of right conservative voters in Estonia, which goal requires the ousting of other parties aiming for the same political niche.
EKRE managed to neutralize the Free Party at the March Riigikogu elections, with Isamaa surviving courtesy of its massive elections campaign and vestiges of organizational work skills from the good old days.
Now, when Martin Helme will take control of EKRE during the upcoming weekend, Isamaa should realize its days are numbered.
EKRE will attempt to become a professional major party and absolutely needs to absorb Isamaa voters if it wants to play in the Center-Reform league in the future.
The national conservatives have not allowed Isamaa to dominate a single topic, effectively hijacking the pension reform, courting Isamaa sponsors during the pharmacy reform debates and overshadowing the party completely in terms of who is in charge of delivering the Estonian economy from the coronavirus crisis.
While many may find Martin Helme's ideological positions unsavory, if he can force EKRE down the path of a professional political party, Isamaa doesn't stand a chance.
This way, Martin Helme will finish the work of liquidating Isamaa started by Andrus Ansip.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski