Kaja Kallas in Estonia: prime minister after all?
Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (of the Centre Party) has tended his resignation after his party came under investigation for corruption in connection with the granting of a government loan for a real estate project. Kaja Kallas - leader of the liberal Reform Party, leader of the opposition, and the real winner of the elections two years ago - has been tasked with forming a new government.
Premier played his cards wrong
Sociologist Juhan Kivirähk explains in ERR Online how Jüri Ratas plan two years ago failed to materialise:
“The hope at the time was that the Reform Party would weaken in opposition. This did not happen - the Reform Party continues to secure the highest voter approval ratings. If anything, the scandals that dogged Ratas' government have strengthened the Reform Party's fighting spirit, motivating it to return to power and get the state back on track. Ratas was obliged to constantly apologise for statements made by Ekre leaders and thus defend values and views which are not really compatible with the Centre Party. Ratas' cunning plan turned against him and the governing coalition became the Centre Party's own undoing.”
Women fight hardest when going gets tough
Another woman as head of government is a good sign, La Stampa finds:
“Norway, Lithuania, Denmark, Estonia, Iceland and Finland will all [soon] be led by women. Six female prime ministers in Europe. This is unprecedented. Clearly they have been entrusted with leadership because of their skills and expertise. But it is no coincidence that they are guiding their countries through these times of economic and health crises. As is often the case, and not only in politics, when the going gets tough it is the women who rise to the challenge. ... They fight with greater energy because they must overcome the obstacles of a patriarchal world and are often more courageous and brave.”
No one bothered by Centre Party's corruption
Postimees is surprised that the Reform Party is now eyeing the Centre Party, of all parties, as its most likely coalition partner:
“We live in a strange world. A few hours after the prosecutor's office launched an investigation into a corruption scandal involving his Centre Party, the government of Jüri Ratas resigned. But the next day at noon, the party rose like a phoenix from the ashes, straight back into the political game. It's bizarre that other parties and now political commentators are seriously considering whether to include the Centre Party in the new coalition, even though the party already has a final conviction behind it, on top of the new charges. There is something rotten in society’s attitude towards corruption.”
A major test for Kallas
Eesti Päevaleht wonders whether Kaja Kallas, the opposition leader and real winner of the 2019 elections, will be able to put together a government this time round:
“If she once again fails to form a new government, her career as leader of the Reform Party is over. There is a chance that with the Centre Party's negotiator, Mailis Reps, who has ruled out a new coalition with EKRE, Kallas will pass the test this time. For Kallas, negotiating with Reps is easier than with Ratas because too many things have gone wrong between those two. However, it's questionable whether Reps, who just two months ago had to resign for 'misuse' of state funds, is 'purified' enough to return to government politics. No, her moral ground is still shaky.”