Estonia 200 unlikely to attract enough votes to shake up Estonian parties

Political scientist Tõnis Saarts.
Political scientist Tõnis Saarts. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Political scientist and analyst Tõnis Saarts of Tallinn University told ERR that though once a party and gearing up for the March 2019 general election, Estonia 200 may have the potential to attract protest voters, they are unlikely to find too many backers among the voter base of the established parties.

Much like pollster Juhan Kivirähk, who said on ERR on Thursday after the latest party ratings were published that Estonia 200 will most likely eat into the results of liberal-conservatives like the Reform Party, Pro Patria and the Free Party, Saarts thinks that the new group is unlikely to actually shake up Estonia's political parties.

According to a survey commissioned by ERR, some 9% of Estonian voters would currently back the group. Any gains on their part would most likely happen at the expense of conservative, but economically liberal parties, with some effect also on the Social Democrats and the Greens at the left end of the liberal spectrum.

To Pro Patria and the Free Party, already too close for comfort to the election threshold, that is bad news. For Reform, it could mean the loss of a few crucial mandates in next year's election.

That supporters of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) will vote for Estonia 200 is highly unlikely, Saarts said. The politics of the group as outlined in their manifesto are far too close to those of established parties to fit EKRE's establishment-bashing line.

Apart from a certain percentage of voters switching to Estonia 200 out of a feeling of disappointment with the country's current politicians, no greater upheaval is to be expected, Saarts opined.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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