Estonia: coalition with far right agreed
In Estonia the Centre Party led by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, the nationalist Ekre party and the conservative Isamaa party have signed a coalition agreement. Ratas rejected a grand coalition with the Reform Party, which won the election. Some commentators are upset that he is teaming up with the far right. Others point to the contradictions in this coalition.
An alliance built on sand
The party leaderships are taking a big risk with this coalition, writes Keskisuomalainen:
“Even if it seems clear that a conservative government will be formed, its prospects are uncertain. The Centre Party and Ekre are so far removed from each other politically that only through major concessions will they be able to work together. The Centre Party's participation in the coalition raises questions above all for the Russian minority. Ekre, for its part, has already had to give up on a tightening of the abortion law in the negotiations. Even if these compromises don't pose problems for the party leaderships, the supporters may take a different view. The latest opinion polls show that the Centre Party lost a quarter of its votes during the coalition talks.”
There can be no doubts about Ekre's orientation
Political scientist Andres Kasekamp analyses the issues Estonia will soon be confronting in Eesti Päevaleht:
“Ekre is without doubt a far-right party. Nationalism, a leader cult and populism - it fulfils all the criteria. The far-right parties themselves always reject this designation and try to depict the traditional parties as 'extreme liberals'. ... In the 20th century the political divisions were of a material nature (employer versus employee). Now post-materialist values take priority, in particular the fear of losing one's identity in a globalised world. The designation 'far right' is somewhat misleading, because the economic policy of such parties is not really right-wing but often promises to expand the services offered by the welfare state.”