Third minority government looming for Estonia

The already fragile ruling coalition was further weakened yesterday (June 26) and on Thursday or Friday at the latest the unexpectedly opened political week will be sealed by the Center Party dissidents, who will announce their own list of candidates for the autumn local election.

Yesterday’s announcement of resignation of the former chairman of Pro Patria-Res Publica Union (IRL) Margus Tsahkna and chairman of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee Marko Mihkelson was nevertheless a surprise – feared for some, expected for others. «The desertion drama of Yoko Alender and Erik-Niiles Kross was repeated,» one IRL MP said, remembering the defection of two prominent members to the Reform Party in October 2014 - writes postimees.

Helir-Valdor Seeder, the party chairman and the leader of the top four members of the party (the other three are Sven Sester, Priit Sibul and Urmas Reinsalu) found that this will make the party stronger, but admitted that the previously 56-strong coalition can no longer rely on the votes of Tsahkna and Mihkelson. «If people have announced their leaving the party, we have to take into account that the coalition is now weaker by two members,» he said.

Considering that the Center Party can release some news concerning the principles of the party’s current leaders and the statutes – those participating in election in other lists but the party’s – the loss of some Centrist dissidents from the coalition can make Prime Minister Jüri Ratas’ life quite hard.

There have been earlier minority governments, for example those of Mart Siimann and Andrus Ansip. Should the present coalition remain in minority, it could receive support from the Free Party, provided some of their wishes are met.

Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu, who chaired IRL immediately before Tsahkna, admitted that heard about the leaving of two long-time comrades only from the media.

«A political marketing act after Midsummer Day. It is obvious what they are selling, but unclear, who the buyers are. It would be fair to tell the public about the real agenda,» said the politician, who has repeatedly been seen praying in church before elections. «But time will show, sooner or later.»

In fact, it became clear to Tsahkna as early as last November that he would not remain in that party for a long time. «My decision to leave was made in spring, but the first twitch in my soul happened in November when I noticed that there is a wall in the way and as the party chairman I cannot break it down. I could see that a party food chain as being created,» he said yesterday. His relations with Seeder had become very complicated by then.

«I have been the architect of this government and now, after the most intense time had passed and the decisions regarding next year’s state budget had been made, it was the right moment to step aside. My feelings and understandings just coincided with those of Marko,» Tsahkna said. «Our departure was not a great surprise to the party, since our relations with Seeder had been quite complicated already since November. This is why Marko and I no longer discussed, haggled or claimed anything. IRL is moving in a different direction from what I would have liked to see.»

The former IRL chairman believes that interesting time are ahead in politics. «It is not our desire to topple the government; this is certainly not the goal. But seeing what is going on in the Center Party I cannot predict anything,» he said.

Tsahkna has no intention of joining any other party, he will not stand in the local election and finds it difficult to comment on the idea of forming a new party. «When looking at all the dynamics of the European politics, no one can predict today, what will happen in 2019. There is no sense to make empty promises,» he said.

As for Mihkelson, he intends to carry on in politics and wants to remain the chairman of the parliamentary committee.

«I hope that this summer will be better than this day. I hope to gather new energy and ideas for the future during the summer,» he said, not ruling out founding a new party or joining some existing one. «Many things are changing in Estonia’s politics. But hasty moves are not the most practical ones.»

Leaving IRL became inevitable for Mihkelson due to the absence of willingness to innovate and to take risks. «I can see that IRL is not taking the path which in my opinion would lead to the future. They are concentrating on the present at best,» he stated.

Mihkelson says that he has repeatedly asked within the party why they fail to address a large share of the population, meaning the youths and women. «Why are they looking towards EKRE (the Conservative People’s Party), towards the 20th century on the issue of personal liberties? They dare not see important and necessary solutions for the future.»

Priit Sibul, secretary general of IRL, admitted that the decision of Tsahkna and Mihkelson had been surprise to him and the party leader Seeder. «For me it is a surprise primarily in the sense that these men were top leaders of the party a month and a half ago and nothing has happened in that time which would serve as ground for such decisions and conclusions,» he said.

Seeder found that the departure of Tsahkna and Mihkelson would internally consolidate the party. In his opinion the ideology of IRL had become vague and any voters no longer understood the goals of the party. «Near future will show how the coalition will carry on,» he said.

Reform Party leader Hanno Pevkur considered Tsahkna’s and Mihkelson’s move courageous. «[They are] the first men who refused to close their eyes. The values conflict within IRL had to reach some culmination sooner or later, since no serious patriot can agree with what the Center Party rule is attempting to present as the new normal. All forecasts show that the political summer will be full of thunder – the leaving of Tsahkna and Mihkelson is just the beginning. The midsummer peace in the Center Party seems to be over as well,» he predicted.

Martin Helme, chairman of the EKRE faction, believes that the departure of these two men only ushers in the disintegration of the IRL faction.

«Since conflicts within the Center Party faction are also brewing, the Center, Social Democrats and IRL coalition is moving towards minority rule,» he said. «In fact, Ratas’ government is standing only thanks to the absence of alternatives.»

Read other news on the  city site of Tallinn.
fragilerulingcoalition government Estonia
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Chairman of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and one of the owners of construction group Nordecon, Toomas Luman, finds that a prime ministerial candidate should first and foremost be able to answer the question of what will become of the demographic crisis in Estonia. The businessman sees controlled introduction of foreign labor as the solution. A digital construction cluster was created in Estonia a few years back to bring innovation to the s...
Last year saw 27,125 registered offenses, up 0.5 percent from the year before. Violent crime was up by 12 percent to 8,249 offenses. PHOTO: Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire / Press Association Images / Scanpix Growth was biggest for domestic violence – the police launched criminal proceedings in 3,607 cases that constitutes an increase of more than one-third – annual growth of 37 percent from 2,632 cases in 2017. At the same time, reports of domestic violence we...
TALLINN - Ahead of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, tens of thousands of British citizens have chosen the citizenship of some other country, but only one Brit has recently chosen an Estonian citizenship. Spokespeople for the Ministry of the Interior told BNS that only one British citizen submitted an application for Estonian citizenship last year and the applicant was also granted the citizenship. Before that, no Brits had soug...
TALLINN - Experts from Finland, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands highlighted the importance of decentralization and granting local governments greater decision-making powers at a conference titled "Strong local government -- strong state?" in Tallinn on Wednesday.  All Nordic countries have chosen a model granting local governments significant decision-making powers, thus the central government does not prescribe how local governments are to fulfill the...
The language learning application Drops by game developer Planb Labs, established in Estonia by Hungarian founders, was named Google Play's best app of 2018. With the number of downloads surpassing 10 million, Drops was named Google's app of the year as the revenue of Planb Labs, a company registered in Estonia, increased fivefold, CNBC said. The developer's revenue grew from €335,000 in 2017 to €1.7 million in 2018. The company's shareholders include Hung...
TALLINN - The Estonian Health Board has banned the distribution of chlorine dioxide, also marketed as the Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS), the A-component of an unused product, meaning the sodium chlorite solution, must be taken to a hazardous waste collection facility. Ester Opik, head of the Health Board's North regional department, said that the banning of the distribution of the product was caused by the fact that MMS, distributed as a cosmetics produ...
Nature cannot abide a vacancy, as the saying goes. If just one year ago, Estonia was battling the sale of MMS and the practice of giving it to children, a new “miracle cure” called Advanced TRS has appeared on the market now. Even though the make-up of the substance is different, the promise to cure autism and cleanse the body of heavy metals, which kind of extreme detox is accompanied by severe side-effects, sounds all too familiar. TRS is recommended to...
Allied NATO battalions will soon mark two years serving in the Baltics. They have worked better than expected but would need prepositioned heavy weaponry and a functional contingency plan in case of a crisis, a report by the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) finds. “We do not know how Russia would have acted had we not welcomed allies in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in 2017. I’m afraid they would have tested our resolve,” one of...
The time of filing income tax returns is nearly upon us. The new income tax system, in effect since last year, will obligate many women who went on maternity leave toward the end of the year to make additional income tax payments, while those who give birth in the middle or at the beginning of the year have no such obligation. What this means is that some women will owe the state simply for giving birth “at the wrong time”. Laura Roop, who went on maternit...