Political scientist: Neither Perling or Seeder can make Isamaa great

Current Isamaa leader Helir-Valdor Seeder and Parempoolsed leader Lavly Perling are the only two candidates running for leadership of the party on June 20.
Current Isamaa leader Helir-Valdor Seeder and Parempoolsed leader Lavly Perling are the only two candidates running for leadership of the party on June 20. Source: ERR

Both Lavly Perling and the current chairman of the Isamaa Party, Helir-Valdor Seeder are running for the chairman of the party. The political scientist, Tõnu Saarts, said that despite the choice, the internal conflict in the party will deepen and losing members is not ruled out.

At the public debate of the party's chairman candidates on Tuesday, both candidates highlighted their vision and future ideas, ETV's current news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Wednesday.

In political scientist Tõnis Saarts' opinion, both Lavly Perling and Helir-Valdor Seeder are conservative candidates. However, Saarts said that if Seeder wins, no major changes would be expected, which means the party will maintain a level of support close to the 5 percent electoral threshold.

Saarts said that the election of Perling would raise the question of how the new leader would be able to bring about changes with a more liberal view and how to stand out from other parties.

"In fact, Isamaa enters the same niche where Estonia 200 and the Reform Party are already. This is a very competitive niche. I doubt that the election of Lavly Perling will have such a wow effect," the political scientist said.

At the chairmen's debate, however, Perling expressed the hope that Isamaa could attract voters away from Eesti 200 and Reform Party. While Seeder hoped the party could attract voters from EKRE.

"Our voters have certainly partially gone to EKRE and I think EKRE is the one party from which Isamaa could potentially get voters back. The other part is those who have been passively left out and may not participate in the elections at all," Seeder said.

Perling said: "If we look at what has happened to the Isamaa vote, they have not gone to EKRE, but the voter has unfortunately gone to Eesti 200 and the Reform Party. And I say we have to bring our voters back."

However, Saarts thinks bringing voters back from EKRE, Eesti 200 and the Reform Party is unlikely.

Regardless of who is elected as the new chairman, the party is in danger of deepening internal conflicts, Saarts said.

"In my opinion, there are no good choices for the Isamaa Party. I don't think that either candidate, given the current situation in the party, can make the party great. Rather, the question is whether the party will survive," Saarts said.

He said that Isamaa cannot afford internal conflicts. "In order for the party to stay strong, at least one of their main competitors would have to make a seriously wrong step," Saarts said.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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