Olukorrast riigis: Reform losing out to EKRE in rhetoric ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Reform Party chairman Kaja Kallas.
Reform Party chairman Kaja Kallas. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Reform Party that relinquished the position of most popular political force in Turu-uuringute AS' poll this week is losing ground because its messages are not clear enough, journalists Andrus Karnau and Harry Tuul found on the Raadio 2 "Olukorrast riigis" talk show.

"I cannot see strong criticism of the government's policy, nor can I see the opposition leader offering an alternative positive program," Karnau said, referring to the Reform Party. "Regarding Kaja Kallas (Reform Party chairman – ed.), the question is whether she really is the chairman as it is rather Kristen Michal who comes off as the de facto leader of Reform or Jürgen Ligi in terms of being outspoken and visible," Karnau added.

While Kallas likes to talk about the Estonian economy needing knowledge-intensive investments, it does nothing to address daily matters," Karnau said.

He also pointed out how the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) has painted itself as the only political force fighting for the Estonian nation state and taken the lead in matters of the family.

"Unfortunately, Kaja Kallas seems to have nothing to say here. She has no competing message for people who are not in a traditional Christian marriage, of whom there are a great many in Estonia," Karnau explained. "For some reason, Reform Party politicians are also reluctant to fight for all the children who do not live with their parents, people whose marriages have ended, who have never gotten married, do not want children, as well as people who might want same sex partners – there is no clear position to suggest what type of values the Reform Party really represents," he concluded.

Tuul agreed with Karnau in that EKRE sends very strong messages.

According to the journalist, the Reform Party's rating initially relied on protest votes from people who were not happy it was left out of the government nor over EKRE's inclusion. But the well seems to be running dry now.

"In some ways, Reform and EKRE are working in sync. It is partly inevitable because EKRE needs to be put in its place, but it also creates this Reform-EKRE axis where the latter is made out to be much bigger, more powerful and influential than it really is," Tuul said.

"The opposition's problem is that they are talking to themselves, the same kind of people they are. However, if you want to change someone's mind or convince them of something, you need to address them in their own language. Today, the things coming out of the mouth of Martin Helme are far more convincing than what is being said by Jürgen Ligi," Tuul said.

The August poll commissioned by ERR and carried out by Turu-uuringute AS concludes that support for the Reform Party has come down from 33 percent at the start of the summer to just 23 percent in August, with the ruling Center Party now most popular (26 percent), followed by its coalition partner EKRE (20 percent).

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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