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Fresh Prime Minister makes 43 percent of hearts merry

Peaminister Taavi Rõivas suurõppusel Kevadtorm. PHOTO: Esper Kaar / Kaitsevägi

Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas, in office almost two months, has earned the support of nearly 40 percent of the nation.

In April pollsters of Turu-uuringute AS asked 1,003 people how they assessed the Reform Party decision to offer Taavi Rõivas for prime minister, and how competent they deem the man to be. 43 of all respondents answered that Mr Rõivas was the best or rather the best option. By 44 percent, Mr Rõivas is judged competent for the job. Among Estonians, the fresh-PM-support towered at 55 percent, with the other nationalities down at mere 19 percent.

Commenting on the results, sociologist Juhan Kivirähk noted that Reform Party had taken the right decision and the people has received if quite well. «I personally would have envisioned the question regarding the comparison: would it have been better if Siim Kallas had become the prime minister? But, that’s merely a speculation,» said Mr Kivirähk.

By supporters of Centre Party, Mr Rõivas rising to be prime minister has been evaluated as wrong or rather wrong. Meanwhile, those favouring Reform Party, soc dems or IRL are rather inclined to see the decision in a positive light. Of Reform supporters, 78 percent were for Mr Rõivas. Among IRL and soc dem supporters, the percentages were 66 and 60 respectively. Among Centre Party voters, 34 percent have been reconciled to having Mr Rõivas as PM.

In light of the poll, people more interested in politics think the Reform Party decision was right. «As a whole, I’d evaluate the move by Reform party as very crafty. They have again guaranteed themselves the highest rating, and the prime minister’s starting point is also quite favourable for advancement,» acknowledged Mr Kivirähk.

How largely do the poll results reflect the people’s overall expectation of new fresh political air? «The poll was conducted in April and Mr Rõivas had had precious little time to be in office. I myself, perhaps, would not have expected such a positive assessment,» said Mr Kivirähk. «I guessed that the people had gotten used to the thought of Siim Kallas coming back. But probably a large part of the people did not even arrive at the idea as yet. A new fresh guy came, and in combination with the sic dems he comes across especially fresh. The Andrus Ansip phenomenon was very closely like that of Tony Blair as Prime Minister of Great Britain for ten years – a nice guy, but too long in the office an everyone had time enough to get bored.»

Mr Kivirähk thinks Mr Rõivas has managed to present himself well, has conducted himself well. «There’s still time to Riigikogu elections, but for the upcoming European Parliament elections Reform Party has played itself into the picture real nice,» he says. «The soc dems as well.»

Mr Rõivas is best supported by the highly educated part of the population – according to the poll, it’s 56 percent against 38 percent of people with primary or basic education. Also, Mr Rõivas has high support among leaders and top specialists – 56 percent.

Referring to an Emor poll, Mr Kivirähk noted that new coalitions always start up with higher support. «However, the current coalition cannot be called a Christmas Peace Coalition, because the time in office is too long for that. The Christmas Peace Coalition of Andres Tarand did not have to compile a budget, had no need to fight anyone,» said Mr Kivirähk. «If you have to compile a budget, you always will have to divide [the money]. Everybody needs money, you see, and there’s always too little of it. The autumn will tell how it will be with this coalition.»

The sociologist noted that before shaking hands with the soc dems, the Reformers had been pointing towards these as their greatest competitors, not caring too much about Centre Party any more. «But if Reform Party is acting so clever, they probably have a trap ready for the soc dems as well so these would not be too much of a success in next elections,» smiled Mr Kivirähk.