Estonian PM, majority party start coalition talks

Streaming HUBMarch 8, 2023

Estonia’s centre-right Reform Party began talks with two smaller parties on Wednesday to form a new moderate coalition government.

Prime Minister Kaja Kailas’ party won the Baltic nation’s general election on Sunday with 31.2% of the vote.

Kailas hosted a meeting of representatives of the Reform Party, the centrist Estonia 200 party and the left-leaning Social Democratic Party at Stenbock House, where the office of the Estonian Prime Minister is located in the capital, Tallinn.

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“We want to reach an agreement that improves life for all people in Estonia,” Kailas said. “The Reform Party’s priorities are to firmly protect Estonia in the years to come, improve the livelihood of the Estonian people, and start economic development based on green reform.”

The Reform Party was the senior partner in the outgoing three-party government. Although it won nearly twice as many votes as Sunday’s election runner-up, the far-right populist People’s Party of Estonia, or EKRE, Kailas needs junior partners to form a cabinet that can command a comfortable majority for the next four years. Can rule from ,

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kailas and opposition leaders convene in Tallinn to discuss forming a coalition government.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kailas and opposition leaders convene in Tallinn to discuss forming a coalition government. (AP Photo / Sergey Grits)

The rise of parliamentary newcomer Estonia 200, a centrist party advocating liberal values, was the election’s biggest surprise. It won 13.3% of the vote and 14 seats in Estonia’s 101-seat parliament, or Riigikogu. The Reform Party won 37 seats and the Social Democrats nine.

Estonia 200, which defines itself as a “progressive and forward-looking political party”, failed to cross the 5% threshold needed to enter the Riigikogu in 2019. This time, the party gathered an array of famous Estonian cultural figures, academics. , business people and politicians as candidates.

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According to Lauri Husar, chairman of Estonia 200, the common denominator of the three parties lies mainly in the spirit of reform.

“Today we had surprisingly a lot,” said Hussar. “I am pleased that we agreed on a full roadmap. It gives me confidence that we can build a coalition that will last for four years.”

National security and socio-economic issues, especially the rising cost of living in the wake of neighboring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, were the main campaign themes of the election.

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EKRE which ran largely on an anti-immigration and anti-EU platform was part of the government of Estonia in 2019-21.

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