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Political parties react to new contender in race for 2019 elections

The parties' sizing-up of their competitors only intensifies with the arrival of a potential new contender.
The parties' sizing-up of their competitors only intensifies with the arrival of a potential new contender. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Reactions to the manifesto and announcement of a new political movement of the Eesti 200 group from the political parties were mainly positive.

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said in Thursday's government press conference that he and his party support the initiative, and would continue to support the idea also if Eesti 200 should turn into a new political party.

Ratas added that he wouldn't say the current political establishment is stuck in any way. "Working in government I've seen innovation and new ideas, we don't look back, we look ahead," the prime minister said, adding that he wishes Eesti 200 a lot of strength going ahead.

Minister of Entrepreneurship and IT Urve Palo (SDE) invited people to join the existing parties as well. "That new people appear is a normal process, top-level politics can be very tiring. New perspectives are needed. We have four bigger parties, you can choose between them, if you want something new and something fresh, join one of the existing parties," Palo said.

Her party colleague, Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt, added that any kind of political competition is welcome. "When I read through their manifesto, it seemed clear that the questions they ask are all the same we're discussing in the leadership as well looking ahead to the next 20 years," Anvelt said.

Reform Party chairwoman Kaja Kallas agrees with the view that plenty of Eesti 200's manifesto is already there in the considerations and discussions in current Estonian politics. Kallas told ERR on Thursday that it is "Nice to see that the ideas present in the manifesto are important also outside the Reform Party."

Never losing sight of next year's elections, Kallas though was quick to caution that though the ideas in the manifesto are laudable, with a new political party the aim would immediately become a very different one from simply seeing these ideas put into practice.

Jaak Madison of the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) sees neither substance nor action in the new manifesto. "This idea is clearly overinflated, there is no substance and no action in it," Madison said. "Where the manifesto stresses that it is about ideas, not world views, it gets entirely absurd. You can't have ideas without a world view," he added.

Minister of Finance Toomas Tõniste (IRL) welcomed the new contenders and said that he is certain they will find their place in the political landscape.

Free Party chairman Artur Talvik said he supports the initiative and understands the wish to do things differently. "The people are utterly disappointed in the current political system as well as in party politics," Talvik said.

He added that he had expressed similar thoughts in his own party, and tried to direct it towards a situation where it would be a movement rather than a political party.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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