Expert: Democratic crisis not yet at hand

Ott Lumi.
Ott Lumi. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The ongoing confrontation between the coalition and opposition in the Riigikogu does not yet amount to a crisis of democracy and both sides share in the blame for the current situation, political analyst Ott Lumi finds.

"I would say we're not there yet (a democratic crisis – ed.). But if this nonsense continues for a few more weeks, there might be some cause for concern. While I hold what we're seeing to be very ugly, it is part of the game of politics," Lumi told ERR on Wednesday.

"I believe it is not too bad for the moment. What we're seeing is, in some ways, normal democratic process. On the other hand – we do not see such things in the Finnish parliament, for example. There is a hint of political crisis on the wind. I expect all sides to understand that this thrashing about cannot go on for much longer."

Nevertheless, Lumi suggested that citizens need to get used to the fact that "such things" occasionally develop in politics.

The political scientist finds that both sides are to blame for the impasse.

"As concerns the general picture, this crisis did not appear out of thin air – it started with the Reform Party and their coalition partners keeping the truth from us before elections as concerns the state of public finances. /.../ A situation where those affected are not informed of impending tax hikes before elections sparks defiance," Lumi suggested. "Could we describe as normal a situation where the opposition would fail to react to tax hikes that were kept hidden during the election campaign period?" the analyst asked.

On the other hand, the opposition's reaction hasn't been entirely normal either, Lumi suggested. "The opposition has overreacted by quite some margin – EKRE leaving the floor yesterday is not quite normal. Our parliament has been designed based on the example of Germany, while we cannot see such things there." Lumi found.

"Then again, the coalition comparing the opposition's conduct to that of Nazi Germany is not okay in turn," he added.

In terms of how the situation might be defused, Lumi said, "Right now, I would say that society has been afforded the chance to demonstrate its dissatisfaction through the parliament. This has been normal to some extent, while it's time to wrap it up now. I would look to Isamaa and Center here because EKRE will not be contributing a solution. They are a classic protest party and manufacturing instability is in their DNA. However, I expect Isamaa and Center to realize that the signal they wanted to send has been sent, and it is time to start wrapping up," Lumi said.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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