Right-wingers initiator: Isamaa has potential to form own government

Tõnis Kons on
Tõnis Kons on "Otse uudistemajast" Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Tõnis Kons, the initiator of Isamaa's association "Parempoolsed" (Right-wingers), says the party has the potential to receive enough votes to form their own government and not just accept being the smallest part of the existing one.

Kons said on ERR's portal show "Otse uudistemajast" on Wednesday: "The last two voting cycles have not been too good for Isamaa. The party has the potential to be the largest leading right-wing party, meaning we should be able to find the support of every fourth voter. That potential has not disappeared. As Right-wingers, we see that by rearranging the party's worldview, we can again start growing our support."

Kons added he is not the founder of the association, but does belong to a group of initiators.

He noted that Isamaa's support has fallen drastically over the years. They received 11.4 percent of support in 2019 with 12 seats in government, 13.7 percent in 2015 with 14 seats and 20.5 percent in 2011 with 23 seats.

The party's support has dropped to almost half of what it was ten years ago and Kons said the current ratings show an even further drop.

Isamaa's policies are shaped by government delegation

Kons said Isamaa needs a positive shake-up, similar to one he experienced when he was chosen as member of the party council at the start of the year. The party has physically met just once this year.

He added: "I was left with the impression that policy creation will happen on a government delegation level and the council is just a listener. That should change. Organizing from the bottom-up is one of the ways to do so. /.../ The elections for the next board and leader of the party are in the spring of 2021. We are not thinking of inviting some groups prior to it or bringing anyone down or up. We will reach decisions at some point but I see no reason to rearrange the party today."

Kons said even though Isamaa has 8,000 membrs, there are only a few hundred active members. He said the Right-wingers represent the silent majority who now want to contribute more to the party's actions. He added that Isamaa has set themselves up too often to speak in the frames of other parties in debates and has not been able to word their questions properly.

Speaking on the Registered Partnership Act, which according to some analysts has largely contributed to the rise of EKRE and the consequent fall of Isamaa, Kons said that while it does not show, there are principle differences within the party which is why it is not reasonable to expect a decision based on discipline.

Tõnis Kons. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Mayor Kõlvart wants to lead by demanding and restricting

Kons said Isamaa's election ideas in Tallinn are related to the development of economy and the economic space.

He explained: "Tallinn is a prime example of the mentality that we have somehow reached a welfare state and are now in the process of distributing the wealth. If I look at Mihhail Kõlvart's (Center) initiatives, there is a desire to regulate everything, including when people can visit cafes.

"If we want Tallinn to be a city of modern economy and to be more on Europe's map, then these practices are distancing us. State authority and local authority should not climb into a pulpit and tell people how they should live."

Kons said Isamaa considers the next local elections important, especially in Tallinn. "[Center] has held Tallinn for too long. The party has grown together with city administration and is breathing in one rhythm. There are much better chances to make changes this time. There are more and more people among the Russian-speaking voters who no longer have just one choice."

Kons also criticized his party partner Minister of Justice Raivo Aeg who has drafted an initiative that would restrict the accessibility of data related to court trials.

Kons said: "I read about it and did not understand why we would need it. If this proposal reached the minister's desk, he should say we are not going forward with it and are dealing with more substantive topics."

Kons did however show support for party leader Helir-Valdor Seeder's pension reform initiative, making it possible to withdraw from payments to the mandatory second pillar of the Estonian pension scheme.

He commented on the pension reform: "I can only speak from personal experience. Pension systems brought the Western world success in the late-1980s and early-1990s, when equity increased drastically and so did pension assets. If we look at the reality today, especially cost of living and pension assets in funds, there are deep ridges. This reform has made pension fund managers think about how to increase the value of their assets."

There are less and less talents in Riigikogu

Kons acknowledged that there is a tendency where less people reach the Riigikogu who are actually talented and driven to make changes.

He explained: "There are more and more of those who have nowhere else to go and for who this is plan B. If this tendency continues, it will interfere with our development. The leaders of Estonia, and I mean that term in a positive light, starting from business leaders and finishing with scientists do not feel enough responsibility to speak on problems. Too often something gets done when there is a need for it. But they should also speak on policy development. The role of the elite, in a good way, should be to explain to our society and people the challenges of the world."

Kons added that the Right-wingers do not want Isamaa to fall out of the current government.

He explained: "On the contrary, Estonian politics should move in the direction that coalitions remain from government to government. Certainly there are parties, especially Reform, who constantly try to bring up the topic of government changing. The problems of today's coalition are completely different. Reasonable people are irritated that one of the coalition parties, EKRE, has still not understood that a quarrelsome and divisive message should not be transmitted to the whole country. That destroys the trust our people and partners have for the state."

Anvar Samost and Tõnis Kons on "Otse uudistemajast" Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Who are the Right-wingers?

Earlier this month, more than 100 members of the Isamaa coalition party announced the founding of the association with a manifesto titled "The right-wing choice for Estonia" where they promise to stand up for Western values and right-wing opinions but against extremists in Estonian politics.

The manifesto has been signed by 111 people and the full list and text of the manifesto in Estonian can be read here.

The activity of the union is coordinated by seven people including the member of Riigikogu Siim Kiisler, member of the Tallinn city council Kaido Kukk and others, Tõnis Kons previously turned the political union Res Publica into a party which later joined with Isamaa. 


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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