clearn.png
Friday January 22nd, 2021 12:19AM

Reform Party leader tasked to form Estonia's new government

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

HELSINKI (AP) — Estonia’s president on Thursday tasked the leader of the main opposition party to form a new government, a day after Prime Minister Juri Ratas and his Cabinet stepped down in the wake of a corruption scandal in Ratas' ruling Center Party.

Kaja Kallas, chairwoman of the center-right Reform Party that emerged as the winner of the 2019 general election, will have 14 days to put together a new Cabinet, President Kersti Kaljulaid said.

The Baltic country's head of state urged Kallas to move rapidly as the new government needs to immediately start tackling a worsening COVID-19 situation and the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic.

“Both the Estonian people and I are expecting that Estonia will quickly have an active and competent government, which focuses on handling the pandemic and the economic crisis and on making our lives better,” Kaljulaid said in a statement after meeting with Kallas.

Ratas and his Cabinet resigned Wednesday over a scandal involving a key official at his Center Party suspected of accepting a private donation for the party in exchange for a political favor on a real estate development at the harbor district of the capital, Tallinn.

After the announcement by Ratas, who had led a three-party coalition with his left-leaning Center Party, the nationalist EKRE party and the conservative Fatherland party since April 2019, parties immediately started informal talks on cobbling together a new government.

On Thursday, the Reform Party said it would start official government formation talks with the Center Party. Together, the two parties would muster a comfortable majority at the 101-seat Riigikogu Parliament.

According to Estonian public broadcaster ERR, a new Cabinet could be sworn in on Jan. 25 under Kallas.

The government formation marks the second such attempt for Kallas, 43, in less than two years as she failed to bring about a Reform Party-led coalition after the March 2019 general election.

If successful, she would become the first female prime minister in the history of Estonia, which regained its independence in 1991 amid the collapse of the Soviet Union. A lawyer and former European Parliament lawmaker, she is the daughter of Siim Kallas, one of the Reform Party’s creators and a former prime minister.

Kallas has ruled out including the populist EKRE, the nation's third-largest party which runs on a nationalist, anti-immigration and anti-European Union agenda, in the new Cabinet, citing considerable differences in values. The pro-business and pro-entrepreneurship Reform Party defines itself on its website as “the leader of the liberal worldview in Estonia.”

Due to EKRE's strong rhetoric, Ratas' government was shaky from the start.

The EKRE leaders, Mart Helme and his son Martin Helme, caused Ratas' government several embarrassments with public statements that were seen as insulting to Estonia's international allies and which brought the government to the brink of collapse at least twice.

The nation of 1.3 million has been a member of the European Union and NATO since 2004.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Health, AP Elections, General Election News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Financial Markets
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Merkel's party chooses new leader ahead of German election
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party is choosing a new leader this weekend
6:05AM ( 4 minutes ago )
WHO team arrives in Wuhan to investigate pandemic origins
A global team of researchers has arrived in the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic was first detected to investigate its origins amid uncertainty about whether Beijing might try to prevent embarrassing discoveries
5:40AM ( 29 minutes ago )
Somber Tunisia marks 10 years since revolution in lockdown
Tunisia is commemorating the 10th anniversary since the flight into exile of its iron-fisted leader, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, pushed from power in a popular revolt that foreshadowed the so-called Arab Spring
5:33AM ( 36 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
'Not worth my life': Ugandans vote in tense election
Long lines of Ugandans are voting in a presidential election tainted by widespread violence that some fear could escalate as security forces try to stop supporters of leading opposition challenger Bobi Wine from monitoring polling stations
4:32AM ( 1 hour ago )
S. Korean court upholds prison term for ex-president Park
 South Korea’s Supreme Court has upheld a 20-year prison term for former President Park Geun-hye over bribery and other crimes
2:32AM ( 3 hours ago )
Trump impeached after Capitol riot in historic second charge
President Donald Trump has been impeached by the U.S. House over the violent siege of the Capitol
12:16AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Elections
The Latest: 10 GOP House members voted to impeach Trump
Ten Republican House members voted to impeach President Donald Trump over the deadly insurrection at the Capitol
5:02PM ( 13 hours ago )
The Latest: House records enough votes to impeach Trump
A majority of the U.S. House has voted to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time, just a week after he encouraged loyalists to “fight like hell” against election results and a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol
4:23PM ( 13 hours ago )
The Latest: House begins voting on 2nd Trump impeachment
Voting is underway in the House on impeaching President Donald Trump over the violent siege at the U.S. Capitol last week by a mob of his supporters
3:55PM ( 14 hours ago )
General Election News
Lebanon begins all-day curfew as virus spins out of control
Lebanese authorities have begun enforcing an 11-day nationwide shutdown and round the clock curfew, hoping to limit the spread of coronavirus infections amid a dramatic surge after the holiday period
4:08AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Turkey starts vaccinations with China's Sinovac
Turkey has become the latest country to roll out its COVID-19 vaccination program, starting with health care workers in hospitals across the country
3:54AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Germany records highest single-day death toll
Germany’s disease control agency has reported the highest single-day death toll from COVID-19
3:49AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
China 2020 exports up despite virus; surplus surges to $535B
China’s exports rose in 2020 despite pressure from the coronavirus pandemic and a tariff war with Washington, boosting its politically volatile trade surplus to $535 billion, one of the highest ever reported
12:47AM ( 5 hours ago )
Asian shares mixed as traders await details of Biden plan
Shares are mostly higher in Asia as traders wait to see details of President-elect Joe Biden's plan for helping the economy recover from the coronavirus crisis
12:06AM ( 6 hours ago )
Asian shares mixed after lackluster day on Wall Street
Shares are mostly higher in Asia after a lackluster day on Wall Street, where major indexes spent the day drifting up and down near their record highs
10:10PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
Stocks waver between small gains and losses on Wall Street
Major stock indexes were wavering between small gains and losses in early trading on Wall Street as investors kept a close eye on impeachment proceedings in Washington and looked ahead to companies reporting results for the last three months of 2020
9:48AM ( 20 hours ago )
Stocks mostly slip with focus on US politics, vaccines
Global stock markets are mostly down slightly as investors monitor the slow rollout of vaccines and a possible new attempt to impeach President Donald Trump
7:54AM ( 22 hours ago )
Global stocks mixed after Wall St rebounds from uncertainty
Global stock markets are mixed after Wall Street rebounded, shrugging off uncertainty about a possible new attempt to impeach President Donald Trump
3:54AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Financial Markets
Merkel's party chooses new leader ahead of German election
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party is choosing a new leader this weekend
6:05AM ( 4 minutes ago )
WHO team arrives in Wuhan to investigate pandemic origins
A global team of researchers has arrived in the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic was first detected to investigate its origins amid uncertainty about whether Beijing might try to prevent embarrassing discoveries
5:40AM ( 29 minutes ago )
Somber Tunisia marks 10 years since revolution in lockdown
Tunisia is commemorating the 10th anniversary since the flight into exile of its iron-fisted leader, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, pushed from power in a popular revolt that foreshadowed the so-called Arab Spring
5:33AM ( 36 minutes ago )
German economy shrank 5% in pandemic year 2020
The German economy shrank by 5% in the pandemic year 2020
5:25AM ( 45 minutes ago )
EXPLAINER: What is WHO team in Wuhan looking for
The WHO team of international researchers that arrived in the central Chinese city of Wuhan hopes to find clues to the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic
5:23AM ( 46 minutes ago )