Ratas: New government has urgent issues waiting
The new government would have to start working immediately, and depending on the number of days the opposition would grant them to settle in would do so as well, Ratas said on Sunday. He thanked the chairmen of the other coalition parties for their straightforwardness in the negotiations.
Ratas said in ETV’s “Aktuaalne Kaamera” newscast on Sunday evening that the new coalition indeed needed to hit the ground running, and that there were important issues that needed to be dealt with right away.
As the most pressing issues Ratas named the upcoming attempt to change the 2017 state budget bill and drop the 0.5% social tax cut the outgoing Rõivas government had written into it. There were also important matters to deal with in the areas of foreign and security policy, and concerning the upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union, Ratas said.
Asked whether he got along well with his future partners in government, Ratas said that one important thing was that during the talks, he had been able to talk to IRL chairman Margus Tsahkna and SDE chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski “without any political rhetoric” despite the fact that the negotiations hadn’t been easy. They had been very straightforward to each other, which Ratas said he appreciated.
About the distribution of the ministries among the partners in the new coalition, Ratas said that the Center Party had always had the position that balance was important. With the ministries of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, Education and Research, and Public Administration, the Center Party is taking over key departments considering their recent politics.
The Riigikogu will likely discuss Ratas’ confirmation in today Monday’s sitting. Beyond the office of prime minister, the Center Party will take over the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure (Kadri Simson), the Ministry of Rural Affairs (Martin Repinski), the Ministry of Education and Research (Mailis Reps), and the Ministry of Public Administration (Mihhail Korb).
The Social Democratic Party (SDE) will take over the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Sven Mikser), the Ministry of the Interior (Andres Anvelt), and the position of Minister of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (Urve Palo). Party chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski will continue as Minister of Health and Labour, and Indrek Saar as Minister of Culture.
The third coalition partner, the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL), will take over the defense, finance, social protection, environment, and justice ministries. The party said on Saturday that the names of their ministerial candidates would be announced on Monday.