Estonia's prime minister needs new partners
After the victory of the pro-Western Reform Party in Sunday's national elections Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas is in talks with four parties about forming a government. He has ruled out a coalition with the Centre Party, which is widely regarded as pro-Russian and came second in the election. Commentators attribute the Centre Party's good results to the social situation in the country and warn the government not to ignore the concerns of ethnic Russians.
Rõivas should reach out to ethnic Russians
After winning the parliamentary elections Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas must focus on solving tensions with the country's Russian minority, the liberal-conservative Neue Zürcher Zeitung writes: "Twent-five years after the end of the Soviet Union many ethnic Russians living in Estonia still don't have any citizenship, they are 'non-citizens' and therefore second-class citizens, particulary in their working life. Up to now their interests, like those of the entire Russian minority, have only been represented by the Centre Party. Now it has just three seats less than Rõivas's Reform Party - on the one hand because it went fishing for votes with populist demands like tripling the minimum wage, on the other because it almost certainly secures the votes of the ethnic Russians. But its good result in the election isn't doing much for the Centre Party because none of the other parties want to form a coalition with it. However in the long term it could be dangerous to ignore the concerns of the ethnic Russians in this way."
Centre Party's success has social causes
The success of the left-liberal Centre Party - which is seen as pro-Russian - is better explained by social phenomena than by geopolitics, the left-leaning daily taz contends: "Estonia continues to be cited as a model in the crisis-ridden Eurozone because it gives every sign of being an above-average business centre. However things look very different indeed for broad swathes of the population. Growth is only reflected in rising salaries and prosperity for a small upper class, while the large majority of the population go empty-handed. Real incomes haven't risen for eight years, unemployment has almost doubled and emigration has risen continuously because a growing number of young and well-educated job seekers no longer see a future for themselves at home. ... The growing social rift also provides answers to the question of why the Centre Party has gained ground."
New coalition must create more jobs
Estonia needs a liberal economic policy to foster job creation among other things, the business paper Äripäev believes: "Tax policy must promote the creation of well-paid jobs because they contribute to quick and steady economic growth. That would then bring about a rise in lower salaries in the long term. In today's Estonia it's more expensive to create jobs than it is in several neighbouring countries. We've often said that capping social security contributions would be the quickest and most effective solution. Three years ago the current Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas promised to limit the welfare contributions for gross salaries above 4,000 euros by 2014. That hasn't happened. ... In addition, the immigration rate needs to be boosted. Bearing in mind the demographics and the steady decrease of Estonia's population due to emigration and ageing, this is an unavoidable step in the long term."