Party ratings: Support of Russian speakers of Centre on the rise again

At the Centre Party's congress in Pärnu, October 2018.
At the Centre Party's congress in Pärnu, October 2018. Source: Ernest Bondarenko/Centre Party

While in September support among Russian speakers of the governing Centre Party dropped to 65%, the party's lowest approval of the last few years, in October it has picked up again, now at 74%. The party is popular again in Ida-Viru County as well.

Russian speakers' support for Centre is traditionally high, as the party is the only major political group in Estonia to regularly address a Russian-speaking audience. The party has won decisive election victories thanks to its Russian voters, for example in Tallinn.

Following a series of corruption scandals and investigations in Ida-Virumaa, the party's internal climate took a turn for the worse, with different wings of the party also asserting themselves with a view to the internal power play expected to accompany the Riigikogu elections in 2019.

In effect, the party took a beating in the September ratings, dropping to 65% approval. This may still seem a comfortable margin, but given the importance of the Russian-Estonian vote in the Riigikogu elections, this is nothing Prime Minister Jüri Ratas' party will want to play around with.

Pollster Juhan Kivirähk commented on Thursday that it seems the Centre Party has worked hard to regain its support. '[MEP] Yana Toom spoke up more than usual, [Tallinn deputy mayor and city council chairman] Mihhail Kõlvart appeared in pictures a lot more,' Kivirähk said. 'The important thing is that the Centre Party has also managed to gain support among Estonian speakers. At the moment their support among Estonians is on par with that of [the Conservative People's Party of Estonia, EKRE].'

Kivirähk further pointed out that people's attitude towards EKRE was becoming somewhat similar to the past attitude towards the Centre Party. They have a stable support base, but there are also people that 'hate' them, he pointed out.

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Editor: Dario Cavegn

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