Reform in the lead, Greens on the rise

Anneli Ammas
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Photo: Sander Ilvest / Postimees

The traditionally quiet political summer has had a positive effect on two parties: bees and trees have helped the Greens break the election threshold, while the Reform Party has been regaining the trust of former supporters throughout the season.

Polls from last week suggest politics has entered a season of calm, and that there are no great changes in ratings. The survey was ordered by Postimees and BNS and carried out by Kantar Emor.

The only real news is the the Estonian Greens have managed the 5 percent election threshold for the first time in years.

“The ideas of the greens are more visible; their supporters are younger people sporting a more liberal, environmentally-aware, green worldview,” survey expert Aivar Voog said.

Chairman of the Greens Züleyxa Izmailova was pleased by the results. “The more incidents like the recent killing of bees by pesticides there are, the better our chances of talking about our platform, and the more reason people have to consider us,” Izmailova said. She added that more new people have turned to the party to join and run in its ranks at elections in recent days.

The Greens definitely plan to have a party election list in Tallinn, while its members will mostly run in election coalitions in smaller places.

“The Reform Party has more or less regained the position they held on the eve of the 2015 Riigikogu elections,” Voog said, comparing the party’s 26 percent today to its 27 percent rating from two years ago.

“The Reform Party’s footprint in people’s emotional memory goes deep,” Voog said. He added that this fact has ensured the party with a high rating even during periods when it is not dominating the media.

A strong brand also secures the Center Party with a solid rating, even though the Reform Party has had the edge for the past three months now. This time by 3 percentage points.

“People are finally opening their eyes to the coalition’s confusing, hypocritical, and injunctive policy,” Reform Party chairman Hanno Pevkur commented. “People have also begun to realize the ludicrousness of the ruling party’s in-house hostage drama - the social democrats and IRL are quietly looking on from under their rock as the PM sells out Estonia’s core values for pocket change on account of a few eastward-inclined members,” Pevkur said.

The ratings of the social democrats and the Pro Patria Res Publica Union (IRL) remain virtually unchanged in July: the former have gained a few fractions of a point to land on 15 percent, while the IRL has lost as much to remain on 6 percent.

Secretary General of the Center Party Mihhail Korb described the party’s slightly falling rating as a sign of relative stability. “Estonia’s EU presidency has some effect on ratings as it takes up ministers’ time and constitutes outward rather than domestic communication,” he said.

Chairman of the Riigikogu faction of the Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) Martin Helme was very pleased with his party’s result. “Holding on to third place as an opposition force also in summer, when the Riigikogu is not working constitutes a brilliant result for us,” Helme said. “It is a position that gives us confidence for the local elections.”

“EKRE has managed an impressive climb from 10 percent last year to 16 percent in July of this year,” Voog said. “It is the other way around for the Free Party: they were on 15 percent and being considered as a potential coalition partner in October, while today their rating has come down to 7.4 percent.”

Voog believes the party’s rating has suffered on account of its decision to meet local elections in election coalitions.

Chairman Artur Talvik agreed: “The reason is probably that we are going against standard political practice as the Free Party will throw its weight behind local coalitions this fall.”