Ratas concerned about Centre Party ratings, but confident about coalition

Prime Minister and Centre Party chairman Jüri Ratas (centre) flanked by EKRE chairman Mart Helme (left) and Isamaa chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder (right).
Prime Minister and Centre Party chairman Jüri Ratas (centre) flanked by EKRE chairman Mart Helme (left) and Isamaa chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder (right). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Prime Minister and Centre Party chairman Jüri Ratas on Saturday expressed concern about his party's ratings, but nonetheless remained confident that ongoing coalition talks with the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and Isamaa are close to reaching an agreement.

"I am concerned when it comes to the rating of the Centre Party," daily Postimees quoted Mr Ratas as saying on Saturday. "I have promised members of the party to work on it."

On Tuesday, 26 March, the results of a survey commissioned by Postimees and BNS and conducted by Kantar Emor indicated that the Centre Party, the first runner-up in the 2019 Riigikogu elections, had fallen to third place in overall party ratings, while the 3 March election-winning Reform Party continued to gain popularity.

According to survey results, the Reform Party is supported by 32% of voters, up from 29% in the elections and 30% in mid-March polls. Centre, meanwhile, has remained on the decline, earning the support of 23% of voters in the elections but just 19% in mid-March and 17% in the latest polls. EKRE has also surpassed Centre in popularity, polling consistently at 18%.

Nonetheless, the extended board of the Centre Party on Saturday gave its blessing to the planned Centre-EKRE-Isamaa coalition, as did the respective extended boards of the latter two parties.

Mr Ratas told journalists on Saturday that Reform chairwoman Kaja Kallas' proposal for compromise had not reached him, but that it did not matter anyway as the party's extended board had approved the formation of the Centre-EKRE-Isamaa coalition.

"[Ms Kallas'] proposal unfortunately did not reach us either on 3 March or the following day," the Centre chairman told Postimees. "I believe that a new coalition will be born with these three parties. I am not doubtful. When there are consultations, the end result is not certain. However, we are close to an agreement today. [Centre's] extended board issued a mandate today regarding a joint declaration in which approval has been granted to the three parties' consultations."

The Centre Party, EKRE and Isamaa, the first, second and third runners-up in the 2019 Riigikogu elections, earned 26, 19 and 12 mandates, respectively. This potential coalition would command a 57-seat majority in the 101-seat Riigikogu.

The election-winning Reform Party earned 34 seats in election. Combined with the Centre Party's 26 seats, a potential Reform-Centre coalition would command a 60-seat majority in the Riigikogu.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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