Right-Wing Populist Estonian Conservative People’s Party Surges in General Election

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The bullies in Brussels are shaking in their boots once more as yet another national populist party, this time the Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE), made significant gains in a national general election.

Preliminary results from the completed ballot count of yesterday’s Estonian general election revealed that the center-right Reform Party received 28.8 percent of the vote, while the senior partner in the governing coalition, the Center Party, garnered 23.1 percent of the vote. The national populist Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) took 17.8 percent of the vote, which is more than twice the votes that it received in the previous election. EKRE now holds 19 seats in the 101-seat Riigikogu, and represents the third largest party in the country.

This comes just three months ahead of the European Parliamentary elections when voters across the continent will head to the polls to elect representatives in the EU parliament. Across Europe, nationalist and populist parties have made significant electoral gains in recent years. National populist parties have now taken hold of political power in Italy, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic, while in others countries like Germany and France, they have become the primary opposition voice. Those who have yet to gain a political foothold have forced centrist leaders to veer to the right.

Meanwhile, the pro-globalist factions inside of the European Union are doing everything in their power to stave off the relentless surge of populist nationalist sentiments sweeping across the continent.

The leader of the EKRE’s faction in parliament, Martin Helme, asserted that he sees EKRE’s significant gains as entirely in-line with political trends in Europe and across the globe.

“I think Estonia is no different than almost all other countries in Europe, where there’s a serious public demand for political parties who will stand up against the globalist agenda and the ever-increasing movement of power from (EU) member states to Brussels.”

Similarly to what establishment parties promised after the populist Sweden Democrats rose to the third largest party in 2018, the two leading centrist parties in Estonia have both stated that they will not form a coalition with EKRE as a partner. Both have said that populists have no place in the Estonian government.

EKRE’s chairman Mart Helme hasn’t ruled out the idea. In an interview with the Associated Press at the party’s election event in Tallinn, the Capital’s Old Town, he said, “Yes, of course, we would like to be in the coalition because every party wants to carry out its promises and program.”

Estonia has just over 1.3 million people living inside of its borders. The election saw a voter turnout of around 63.1 percent, a figure slightly lower than 2015’s turn-out.

Written by Julian Hein

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