Presidential elections in USA that saw Donald Trump lose to Democrat Joe Biden could have an effect on political culture in Estonia, hosts of the Raadio 2 "Olukorrast riigis" talk show found on Sunday.
"The radical right, Trump supporters are emphasizing attempts to divide the nation. I believe that these claims of division are largely a part of their election campaign, scare tactics," Andrus Karnau said. "Allow me to recall that when the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) was coming to power in Estonia, coalition talks were loaded with threats of taking to the streets should EKRE be left out of the government," he added.
"Center Party politicians have said that if we do not include EKRE in the government, something even worse could happen. Simplifying that scheme, we can also see threats of division as a tool in the case of USA," Karnau found.
Co-host Harry Tuul remained skeptical and said that little will change overnight. "The fact these people get elected in Estonia or USA is a symptom that will not just go away because Biden was elected. These problems need to be addressed and the hard work is just beginning – the economic and coronavirus crises – I do not believe the new president has a silver bullet for taking care of them immediately," Tuul said.
Karnau said that the U.S. election has a greater effect on Estonia this time. "Mostly because the radical right that is setting the tone in Estonia, especially EKRE but also some Isamaa and Center Party members, for whom Donald Trump has been an example – his style, how he plays politics through false facts, obscenities and lack of tact – this model will disappear. People who have so far believed that they can say whatever they like in the service of their political goals will realize that while it can be useful in the short term, it will not pay off in the long run based on the example of USA. I believe it is vital for this kind of nonsense, boastful policy and lies in Estonian politics to retreat and ideally disappear altogether," Karnau said.
Tuul remained more skeptical. "I believe that Trump becoming president [four years ago] paved the way for such policy, legitimized it and saw it arrive in Estonia, being even more pivotal as such (than the change today – ed.). While I hope a new turn could take place, I'm afraid it has come to stay – this kind of policy that plays fast and loose with emotions and facts and is far removed from civilized debate," Tuul said.
Karnau said that politicians and journalists for whom such policy is unacceptable should point out that democracy can only work if there is no lying in the public domain.
The hosts of "Olukorrast riigis" also talked about the coronavirus crisis, the economic situation and EKRE appointing Rain Epler as its candidate for environment minister. Karnau and Tuul pointed out that the three EKRE ministers who are not Mart or Martin Helme are now all heavily dependent on the latter.
Editor: Marcus Turovski