New Opposition Suspicious of the Coalition
The parliament will have a new opposition this week, comprising IRL and the Center Party, and although ideologically disparate, both promise to be a constructive and critical force.
Representatives of both parties told ETV on Sunday that they wonder how the new coalition of the Reform Party and the Social Democrats plans to find the funds for their promises and balance the budget.
Jüri Ratas, member of the Center Party’s board, said the Center Party does not agree to lower the income tax from 2015, because it will leave a gap of about 80 million euros in the budget and it is unclear where the offset will come from.
Margus Tsahkna, member of the IRL parliamentary faction, said the new government was put together for the sole purpose of improving the rating of the Reform Party - an irresponsible move in a "delicate security and economic situation."
On the other hand, both Tsahkna as well as Ratas expressed approval for plans to raise child benefits.
The new opposition is ideologically more at odds than the previous one, and Tsahkna said the statements on Ukraine made by Edgar Savisaar, head of the Center Party and mayor of Tallinn, are unacceptable. “But we’ll see [how it goes] in the coalition - we are a constructive opposition,” he said.
According to political scientist Tõnis Saarts, IRL could get a ratings boost out of being in the opposition if the new government performs poorly. The main task of the coalition is to prove to the suspicious public that Taavi Rõivas is a competent prime minister and also dispel doubts around the Social Democrats, who have not been in the government for some time, Saarts said.