Political scientist: Eesti 200 gained confidence for Riigikogu elections

Tõnis Saarts.
Tõnis Saarts. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Political scientist Tõnis Saarts said on Vikerraadio's morning show "Vikerhommik" that the local government election results gave Eesti 200 confidence that they can cross the electoral threshold in the 2023 Riigikogu elections.

"To sum up these elections in general, we can say the newcomers surprised. We are talking about new protest parties, such as Eesti 200 and EKRE. But older parties were able to maintain their positions rather well," Saarts said.

The political scientist said Eesti 200 chairwoman Kristina Kallas (3,000 votes) had a terrific result in Tartu and her party has now firmly entered the Estonian political landscape.

Saarts said voters will be more confident in Eesti 200 for the upcoming Riigikogu elections in 2023 and it is very likely that the party will cross the electoral threshold.

"There were doubts. If Eesti 200 will not make any mistakes themselves and things will not change drastically, I believe they have a significant chance to be represented in the Riigikogu," Saarts noted.

He said the model, which Eesti 200 has used as a party, is more sustainable than other parties. "In Estonia, the pattern is that you surprise in the Riigikogu elections and cannot build up your organizations and will fail in the local government elections, which will result in you dropping out of the Riigikogu. Eesti 200 did things the opposite way, put a lot of emphasis on building a foundation, because they would not have this kind of result otherwise. And they are certainly more confident going into the Riigikogu elections," Saarts said.

He added that the confidence also stems from people now believing in the party and not seeing it as a one-cycle protest.

Saarts said Eesti 200's and EKRE's success shows that the divide between liberal and conservative voters and national closure and global openness is clearly establishing in Estonian politics. "And these two parties are the two extremes fighting on this divide," the political scientist said.

He noted that electoral alliances had a good election cycle. "Alliances have very clearly established themselves in dynamics of Estonian local elections," Saarts said.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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