The Social Democratic Party (SDE) may find itself out in the cold if it rules out any cooperation with the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), according to editor-in-chief of weekly Eesti Ekspress, Erik Moora. SDE is one of two junior parties in the present ruling coalition.
Moreover, EKRE seem likely to be something of a kingmaker at the forthcoming elections, said Mr Moora, speaking on the ''Vikerhommik'' show on ERR's Vikerraadio.
"As of now, EKRE are very likely to be involved in coalition talks; any party distancing itself from EKRE is thus limiting its coalition opportunities,'' said Mr Moora.
EKRE have initiative, will SDE cave?
EKRE itself, in the personhood of its leader, Mart Helme, had previously said that there was no chance of a coalition with SDE due to worldview differences, a view shared by at least one SDE minister as well as the official line of party leader Jevgeni Ossinovski; whether these rifts can be healed in time and whether SDE will make the first move, remains to be seen.
Mr Moora went on to state that in the strategic game between the two main players, the Centre Party and the Reform Party, one or other will throw in its lot with EKRE and thus broaden its horizons.
Centre-EKRE agreement most likely
''Cooperation between Centre and EKRE seems to me most likely, since communication channels between the two have been built up over some time, even though they seem to be on opposite sides of the fence regarding Russian minority issues and even engage in screaming matches at the Riigikogu on this,'' Mr Moora continued, though he did not feel that being polar opposites would hinder cooperation.*
As for SDE, Mr Moora's view was that Mr Ossinovski is trying to present a whiter-than-white image of the party as the only one which would not throw its lot with the somewhat demonised EKRE, in the hopes that this would pay off at the polls.
Nonetheless, Mr Moora continued, a dose of realpolitik is needed, since a functioning coalition without EKRE is likely to be found lacking come the election in March.
According to the latest opinion polls, EKRE support has seen a small decline, though the party is still third most popular; SDE has conversely seen a small rise in popularity.
*In fact, EKRE and Centre are of a mind in allowing for the continuation of bilingual (ie Estonian and Russian) education.
Editor: Andrew Whyte