The popularity of Kaja Kallas (Reform) as prime minister seems to be something of a curate's egg, according at least to one recent survey, which found that while more people would prefer to see former defense minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) at the helm, than Kallas herself – plus two-thirds of people would like to see her resign – the same respondents would still prefer her as head of government if the alternative were Martin Helme (EKRE).
The survey, conducted by pollsters Norstat on behalf of MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut, quizzed respondents on their opinion of Kaja Kallas continuing as prime minister or of Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) leader Martin Helme replacing her. It then asked the same question but pitting former defense minister Urmas Reinsalu against Kallas.
In the first case, Kallas polled at 43 percent compared with 34 percent in respect of Helme. 23 percent were undecided.
In the second, 49 percent of respondents picked Urmas Reinsalu, over the 30 percent who would continue with the prime minister. The remainder were undecided.
In summing up the results, Norstat stated: "From this question, it can be concluded that if candidates from other major political parties are excluded from the selection, people tend to support Urmas Reinsalu more than Kaja Kallas, but the current prime minister is clearly more popular than Martin Helme is."
In a separate survey, Norstat also asked people's views on Kallas resigning from her position in the wake of controversy over her spouse's business interests.
Two-thirds answered that they would support a resignation – a figure virtually unchanged over the five times Norstat has asked the question since the story broke in August.
Respondents were asked the following question: "Do you think Kaja Kallas should resign from the office of Prime Minister?" to which 27 percent said "No" or "Preferably no," compared with 67 percent who answered either "Preferably yes" or "Yes". Six percent were unable to say.
Again, there was a wide variation depending on a respondent's party of choice; whereas 99 percent of declared EKRE supporters who answered the question said they wanted Kallas to resign, only 13 percent of stated supporters of her own party, Reform, said the same.
Kallas' spouse had a 24.9 percent stake in an Estonian company which was down to the present transporting items manufactured by another, related Estonian firm, into Russia where the components would be assembled, by a third, related Estonian company, into aerosol cans – themselves the subject of sanctions. This prompted a backlash given that Kallas had consistently called for firms to cease all business activity in and with Russia, following the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Editor: Andrew Whyte