Former Prosecutor General Lavly Perling says she has become a supporting member of the Parempoolsed (Right-wingers) group inside Isamaa. Perling says she was fed up with the roaring and malice of populists and could no longer simply look on. Because the former prosecutor general regards herself as an open conservative, Isamaa seemed the best fit for her.
Perling: Isamaa only conservative party in Estonia
You said that enough is eventually enough, which is when one needs to join the fray – what was that last drop?
It was the gradual trickling in of roaring and malice. I kept looking on and despite being in the middle of very exciting work with Ukraine, who knows what the very last drop was. It seemed that while I had given a lot to Estonia, more is needed.
Is roaring the general backdrop of Estonian politics or is it coming from a specific direction?
It is mainly coming from the populists’ direction.
Care to name any names?
By all means. The Conservative People’s Party (EKRE). However, they are not the main issue and I would not attach to them too much attention or significance. It’s simply that what they are doing is dismantling society, hurting people. It scares people away and will eventually carry over to other areas once it becomes the norm. That is not good for Estonia.
You joined the Parempoolsed which is an Isamaa in-house group, while Isamaa shares a coalition with EKRE. Why?
It is very simple. I was in my country house when the Parempoolsed published their manifesto in summer. And I thought after reading it that perhaps this is the force capable of ending the current wave of populism in Estonia. It took off from there, with people asking me whether I would like to get involved – one acquaintance introduces you to another etc. I was put in touch with the right people and saw that they included those with the capacity, experience and will to really make a change. Isamaa has people who see Estonia as a strong, smart, open and successful country, as opposed to a closed and reticent Estonia that only certain people are seemingly allowed to call home. The manifesto made me think and listening to their ideas was the next step.
Why is Isamaa’s support rating so modest?
Why indeed. A lot of my acquaintances say that they have been voting for Isamaa for years, while what has been happening lately is not the same Isamaa that they would like to support. Why the modest rating? Wiser people than me can give you a lengthy and thorough analysis. But I believe it is because they have been overshadowed by EKRE. The old Isamaa that was patriotic in a positive sense has disappeared and needs to be roused. I believe that would give Estonia a strong conservative force again.
What distinguishes Isamaa from EKRE?
There are a million differences. EKRE and Isamaa do not compare as the former is not a conservative party but a populist one. We cannot compare the incomparable. Isamaa has been a party that cares about Estonia, has helped develop the country alongside other political forces. Isamaa prioritizes national interests, while honoring Western values, the rule of law and freedoms. It is believing that people are smart enough to make their own decisions. Isamaa and its Estonianness – that is what matters.
Why did you become a supporter of the Parempoolsed group instead of joining Isamaa?
There are several reasons. I believe the time will come when I can decide to join the party. Freedom seems to be the most important thing today. I will be taking there my know-how, experience as a lawyer and top executive, as someone who has developed and cared for Estonia and is prepared to do it again. We will see what comes next. Therefore, holding on to my freedom is the number one argument for now.