The Parempoolsed (Right-wingers) becoming a political party is the result of a trauma that took place inside Isamaa, and the new force will hardly prove a competitor for Eesti 200, the latter's board member Lauri Hussar says in an interview.
What is your opinion of the Parempoolsed registering a party and what could be their effect on the political landscape in Estonia?
Looking at who formed the party and how it came about, processes caused by a split in Isamaa are largely the reason. The party's background is directly tied to Isamaa. It is like an Isamaa trauma that we see manifesting in politics.
Looking at their messages, they closely mirror those of Eesti 200 in terms of the economy, social development and long-term plans. There is a lot of common ground.
We need new people in politics, which is also why Eesti 200 was created. But looking at the big picture now, I see few opportunities for realizing new people and ideas if the [political] landscape is very fragmented. Therefore, I believe that bringing new people to already established and supported platforms, such as Eesti 200, is more sensible.
Eesti 200 is an open platform. Progressive people who wish to commit themselves to a new and forward-looking plan are welcome.
Who could be the core Parempoolsed voter?
They have phrased it. Though I recently saw a poll where support for them was 1.5 percent. I believe they do not have a typical voter yet. I couldn't tell you.
Could they also be potential Eesti 200 and Reform Party voters?
They could, but that core voter would need to develop first. I know who the core voter of Eesti 200 is today.
Looking at local election results, Eesti 200 outperformed pre-election polls everywhere its candidates ran. We jumped from 10-12 percent in the polls before elections to a result of 14 percent in Viimsi. Eesti 200 has a strong and steady voter and the party knows how to communicate its messages. It will manifest in election results eventually.
Do you see the Parempoolsed as a threat, a strong competitor moving into Riigikogu elections?
Like I said, it is good the Parempoolsed are bringing new people into politics, I dare say the competition is becoming too close. We should wait and see their candidates.
I dare say today that their board members include relatively few well-known people. But as Eesti 200 has said many times, new people must join politics and it is a good thing.
But if that picture becomes very fragmented, a part of that support will dissipate.
I would say that Eesti 200 welcomes Parempoolsed and new people in politics, while we also perceive a problem in the landscape becoming too mottled.
Considering our rating now and in the past and a steady voter base, as reflected in local elections results, we do not perceive major problems at Eesti 200.
Do you see the two parties cooperating in the future?
I am the chairman of the Viimsi Municipality Council and a four-way coalition. We are pursuing effective cooperation. I am always open to working together.
Editor: Marcus Turovski