EKRE chairman: Isamaa's rise comes at the expense of liberal parties

EKRE chair Martin Helme.
EKRE chair Martin Helme. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

EKRE chairman Martin Helme said Isamaa's sudden growth in support is not sustainable and that it has come primarily at the expense of liberal political parties' voters.

"This rise of Isamaa has not come at our expense, but has been largely due to the support of both the Reform Party and Eesti 200. Something has also come from the Center Party, although I think that the sinking of the Center Party has also brought us more support, or has retained that support. The rise of Isamaa has not been at our expense," Helme told ERR on Wednesday.

The politician pointed out that it is worthwhile to look at the ratings in two blocs.

"The Centre Party, EKRE and Isamaa are, so to speak, one bloc in Estonian politics, and then there is the Reform Party and its allies [SDE and Eesti 200], which is another bloc. The support of these two blocs is always worth looking at as a set. And what counts in politics is the combined support of these two blocs, that is, how many voters move from the liberal side to the other side," Helme said.

The chairman said voters have crossed the line separating liberal and more conservative parties. "The voter has moved to the more conservative side.
I think this is a very important change in Estonian politics at the moment. A considerable number of these people have now moved across the front line from the liberal front to the other side," said Helme.

He also said it cannot be excluded that some of the voters who currently support Isamaa may switch to EKRE in the future.

"Surely it (support for Isamaa - ed.) will come down at some point. It's kind of an upward trend. A voter's appeal to the parties they have supported so far. Undoubtedly, Isamaa will not be able to keep all these people," Helme said.

He compared the situation with Eesti 200's success before the election and before that the Free Party and Res Publica, who experienced similar trajectories.

But he conceded Isamaa's support will probably not fall below 10 percent in the near future.

Helme also said EKRE promises to keep obstructing bills in an attempt to trigger emergency elections. He thinks this will increase the party's support.

"If the question is whether the talk of an emergency election is more likely to drive people away from whoever is doing the talking, or to bring people in, my guess is that the emergency election there is a clear order in society," said Helme.

"If we look at the public opinion polls, clearly more than half of Estonians think new elections are needed. And certainly, not all of these people are EKRE voters. There is certainly a very large number of people who are disillusioned with the other parties currently in parliament. What is clear is that a very large critical mass of people feel that the current political atmosphere is so entrenched that giving back the right to speak to a higher power is the way out," Helme said.


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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Helen Wright

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