'Olukorrast riigis': Rõivas' choice of ministers strengthened his position in his party
Speaking on their Raadio 2 broadcast "Olukorrast riigis" ("The Situation in the State"), hosts Andrus Karnau and Ahto Lobjakas found that Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas' choice of new ministers served to strengthen his position in the Reform Party.
"The fact that Jürgen Ligi with his distinct pronouncements is no longer defending critics of private school funding is surely appealing in the Ministry of Education, not just to IRL [Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica] politicians but first and foremost to Reform Party politicians, and Maris Lauri's promtion, as a Kaljurand supporter, proves Taavi Rõivas' generosity," said Karnau.
According to Lobjakas, something has been customary for decades in Estonia which very much differs from other countries' customs — that relatively prestigious-looking ministerial portfolios do not necessarily indicate that their owners are influential in the government or the party that they represent.
"Consider the foreign minister porfolio, which has been held during the past ten to fifteen years by people who, let's be honest, haven't gotten anywhere in politics — Urmas Paet at length, we had Kristiina Ojuland here, we had Rein Lang," noted Lobjakas. "It is a dead end in Estonian politics."
Lobjakas found that Jürgen Ligi has now been stuck in that dead end as well. "This describes an important aspect of Estonian politics under Reform-style governance logic, and this aspect tells us that people who are relatively outspoken and relatively popular are their apparent authority," he noted, adding that Ligi's promotion to Minister of Foreign Affairs now means that he will be moving forward along that same dead end.
"Rõivas' move can now be interpreted thus — if he would only make an effort for it — that at long last positions in the government are beginning to overlap with powers in the party and powers in the back room," said Lobjakas. "I'd like to believe this, but currently I'd say that in a government vs. backroom match, the result would be a tie or very likely even a win for the back room and loss for the government."