Centre-Reform coalition government likely, predicts political scientist

Political scientist Rein Toomla.
Political scientist Rein Toomla. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

A joint government consisting of the Reform Party and the Centre Party, Estonia's two biggest political parties, cannot be ruled out following the 3 March elections, Rein Toomla, a political scientist at the University of Tartu, said when analysing the current situation ahead of the upcoming Riigikogu elections.

It cannot be said that this year's elections are remarkable in any way, Mr Toomla said in an interview with regional daily Lõuna-Eesti Postimees.

"We have become adults," he explained. "There is no more rushing about like in the early years. It can be said that the elections of the last few decades have been similar. But there have also been changes, first and foremost in the opposition of parties. While previously it could be said that all other parties were against the Centre Party, or more precisely against [former longtime chairman] Edgar Savisaar, the opponent now is the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) — nobody wants to potentially cooperate with them."

At the same time, he continued, the Centre Party has not previously held radical stances in the political sense.

"People were against the Centre Party primarily because there were always some kind of suspicions regarding its leader," Mr Toomla said. "Whether regarding the use of money or issues concerning Russia, there were always some kind of suspicions regarding Edgar. When it comes to EKRE leaders now, there are no such suspicions. There are no accusations about them being agents of influence of some other countries or that they put aside large sums of money. There is none of that, but at the same time, its leaders' statements have been opposed by others; the party's stances have not appealed to others."

Should the Centre Party, whose chances are good at the moment, win the 3 March elections, the party will likely have no problems forming a government, the political scientist predicted. Should Reform win, they, too, will manage well with the task of forming a government.

"I have had the impression that similar groups always make the best coalitions," he said. "I think that the Centre Party and the Reform Party would form the best coalition. At the same time, issues may emerge there as both parties are very large. There is a tangible desire to be better than the others."

Nonetheless, he concluded that a joint government consisting of two large parties cannot be ruled out.

"Looking back over the past six months, the Reform Party was the type to burn bridges, but they have retreated now as well," Mr Toomla said. "These parties could indeed form a government. Each time they have been together in a coalition, we have not had a bad government. Both have professional politicians to take from the bench. As possible coalition partners, both the Social Democrats (SDE) and Isamaa would be suitable partners for both parties.

Compared to previous election years, he added, it seems as though the forming of a government will be easier this time around.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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