Former politician and political observer Ott Lumi thinks that the coalition parties will find a way to continue with the current lineup, given there is a remarkable amount of political money to divide up between them before the local government elections next fall. However, Lumi noted the relationship between the parties is so toxic that the local government election will end the cooperation.
On October 19, the government discussed a crisis created by an interview Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE) gave to German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) stating that LGBT+ people should move to Sweden, where they would find a more pleasant environment. The prime minister, Jüri Ratas (Center), and his party, have since strongly criticized Helme.
Lumi says he thinks that the three coalition parties will, however, come to an agreement, and the public will receive an explanation of why are they continuing as is in due course.
"At the end of the day, power is what unites people, and in 11 months, the local government elections will take place. There is a lot of money at stake, which can be carved up politically. I think that's the main instinct that keeps this coalition together," Lumi said.
At the same time, Lumi said, the current situation is so toxic that the cooperation is unlikely to extend much beyond the municipal elections.
"But I think that now, everything will continue as it has done for a year and a half," he noted.
Lumi offered his explanation as to why the Center Party reacted so decisively to Helme's interview, namely that it was part of the international media spotlight.
"This interview was done by DW, which is a German media channel. It definitely irritated the prime minister because he needs to sit together with European leaders once a month," Lumi said.
Lumi added that the Center Party has sensed that time until the election is running out, and they need to make their own rhetoric stand out more, as against EKRE's.
"All parties understand that this will soon be a debate that will indirectly determine the outcome of the [local] elections," Lumi added.
The local government elections will take place in Estonia on October 17, 2021.
Editor: Roberta Vaino, Andrew Whyte