Rõivas's government did not accomplish much, analyst says (4)
According to Vello Pettai, the Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Tartu, the current government headed by prime minister Taavi Rõivas didn't achieve anything significant.
The comments came as the government had its last cabinet meeting before the Parliament elections that take place on Sunday.
Although the current government will carry on its duties until the new coalition government is formed, which may take weeks, the cabinet today looked back to conclude the previous year.
“It's appropriate to remind everyone that Taavi Rõivas became prime minister unexpectedly, after Siim Kallas withdrew his candidacy. In that sense, the expectations were relatively modest and doubts were raised about the prospects of what the new and untested prime minister can achieve in a year. But the government was formed and new ministerial portfolios established – and it seems that these were justified,” Pettai said.
Pettai acknowledged that some of the important objectives, which were written in the coalition agreement between Reform Party and Social Democrats, were accomplished – such as Cohabitation Act or work ability reform.
But Pettai said that Rõivas's government did not achieve anything in a larger scale. “If we leave aside the specific legislation, such as the Cohabitation Act that created much discussion in the society, not much was changed. In relation to foreign policy, the Ukraine crisis dominated the year and our foreign policy has changed a little, in regards to Estonia's defense policies and relations with Nato and other Allies. But nothing major changed,” Pettai added.
Parts remains diplomatic, Savisaar blames IRL and Social Democrats too for Reform Party failings
Rõivas's government took power in March 26 2014, after Andrus Ansip, PM for 10 years, left for European Parliament. Reform Party decided to form the new government with Social Democrats and IRL, the previous coalition partner for seven years, was forced to go into opposition.
Juhan Parts, one of the opposition leaders and the prime ministerial candidate of IRL, concluded that although Reform Party hoped to increase its popularity by throwing IRL overboard, it is now back in square one.
“When this government took power, it happened at the cost of breaking up the previous stable coalition. Reform Party's initial plan to increase its popularity by changing the government has not worked – it has gradually fallen and is eventually still on the same level as before forming the new coalition,” Parts said.
But Parts praised the government's defense policies. “Reform Party used to want to scrap conscription and switch to professional army instead. IRL opposed their idea, insisting that conscription is very important pillar in Estonia's defense ability. It is positive that the current government has also taken important steps to develop our defense capabilities and negotiated with Allies to achieve a more remarkable deterrence ability.”
Parts did not wish to pay too much attention to government failings.
“Whoever is leading the government, must do everything to take Estonia forward – find new opportunities, create ideas, initiate new developments. What works well, deserves to be protected and continued, no matter who has been in charge beforehand. This will unite us, artificial rivalry will benefit no one,” Parts said.
Edgar Savisaar, the leader of Center Party, also part of opposition, said that Reform Party has governed since 2005 and is therefore responsible for any failings. “The prime minister is new, but the party is the same as before,” Savisaar said.
“I think that IRL and Social Democrats are also responsible for Reform Party policies as they have shared the government in last eight years. It has resulted in a massive exodus of people from Estonia, extinction in countryside and mediocre entrepreneurship. Let me be clear – IRL and Social Democrats are also responsible for these failings, by governing together with Reform Party,” Savisaar added.