Expert: EKRE miscalculated in seeking sharp confrontation with EDF
Even though the so-called Prigozhin scandal left a mark on EKRE immediately before elections, the national conservatives failing to hit their projected result had more to do with its conflict with EDF leaders, political scientist Ott Lumi told ERR.
The Conservative People's Party (EKRE) took 17 mandates from the 2023 Riigikogu elections, two fewer than four years ago. The Reform Party, which EKRE painted as their main competitor, took more than twice the number of seats in the new Riigikogu at 37.
"The Prigozhin scandal left a mark on their campaign, with its effect difficult to gauge in hindsight. However, I see as their main communication error the sharp confrontation EKRE sought with the Defense Forces and the tactic of calling into question the core tenets of national security," Lumi said.
The analyst described the mistake as all the more peculiar since EKRE sport considerable national defense know-how.
"It is probable that their campaign stance where they blankly ignored their competitors' arguments and made themselves into something of a pariah also startled their potential voters," Lumi remarked.
That EKRE leader Martin Helme called into question the result of e-voting Lumi described as hardly surprising.
"Calling into question the results of electronic voting probably serves as a conscious scenario for EKRE in the case of such an election result. But it is to be expected they will not run the full Trump gamut by organizing additional protests as they realize it would only work against them in the long run," Lumi said.
But they've already vowed to challenge the result in court, which course the party will likely not change, he added.
The analyst suggested that the main question leading up to elections was whether EKRE would manage to make its policy and political style compatible with the mainstream.
"It seemed they were about to before local elections (two years ago – ed.), while I would not say the same about Riigikogu elections now. It will be interesting to see what comes next in those terms," Lumi remarked.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski