Support for non-parliamentary Eesti 200, who has enjoyed a constant increase in their support among voting-age Estonians over the last months, has flatlined during negotiations to form a new Reform-Center government, according to survey from the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues and Norstat Eesti AS.
As of the latest party ratings survey, Reform is supported by 29.1 percent of respondents, Center is supported by 21.5 percent, followed by Eesti 200 with 15.5 percent of respondents saying they would vote for them if elections were to happen immediately. The top three are closely followed by the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) with 15.4 percent support,
The Social Democratic Party (SDE) collected 7.9 percent of respondents' support, with outgoing coalition Isamaa Party getting 6.3 percent.
Although support ratings have remaind stable to start the year, there have been changes in long-term trends. Eesti 200's support saw remarkable increase in the end of 2020, but has flatlined now. In addition, EKRE, who was in a slump in December has grown its support by 1.8 percent over the last four weeks, meaning that EKRE have closed the 2.2 percent gap Eesti 200 had over them in December.
50.6 percent of respondents voted in favor of the Reform-Center combination that is currently negotiating to form a new government. The opposition parties found 29.6 percent support among the voting-age adult sample.
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Martin Mölder, a researcher at the University of Tartu's Johan Skytte Institute for Political Studies, said Eesti 200's position weakening does not come as much of a surprise as their high level of had been built on being in opposition to the previous coalition (Center-EKRE-Isamaa) and in being opposed to the marriage referendum, which was voted against in the Riigikogu during the government crisis, during which the coalition also collapsed.
In context, it would make sense for Eesti 200 to return to their previous point of emphasis, which focused on problems in Estonia's political and party system and its functioning as a whole.
"A coalition formed between two parties that are more focused on governing than ideology, which will also have the smell of corruption, offers a perfect opportunity. We can expect Eesti 200's support to go down somewhat in the coming weeks, but it will not drop as low as it was in October last year (9 percent - ed)," Mölder said.
Mölder said it is difficult to predict the future prospects of the other parties currently: "Reform's very high support was also mostly built on being opposed to the government. In addition, many Reform supporters will likely not like a coalition with Center. We could expect that their support could drop while in government. And even if Center's problem is another cloud of corruption, we can predict that it will not affect their support too much, as their voters have been very loyal over the years," the researcher said.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste