IRL, Opposition Express Mixed Feelings on Kallas Return
Both the opposition parties and the Reform Party's coalition partner, IRL, have mixed feelings about EU Commissioner Siim Kallas's recent statement that he is returning to the Estonian political scene and will run for the top government office in 2015.
Head of the opposition Center Party's Parliamentary faction, Kadri Simson, said on ERR radio on Tuesday that Kallas has proved himself to be pragmatic and not a populist. She said the current PM, Andrus Ansip, has "backed himself into a corner" and Kallas will increase the chances of the Reform Party again participating in a government coalition.
Sven Mikser, chairman of the Social Democrats, told ERR radio on Tuesday that if Kallas is elected to lead the Reform Party, it will postpone the shift to the next generation.
Mikser said that he foresaw Ansip's speculated bid for the EU Commissioner post two years ago, and like Simson, Mikser said he was more willing to cooperate with Kallas than Ansip.
IRL chairman Urmas Reinsalu, who was re-elected to the party's top position last weekend, said that Kallas, the honorary chairman of the Reform Party, "never really left" Estonian politics, but said he believes the ties between the the coalition partners will continue to be strong.
Speaking about the next Estonian EU Commissioner, Reinsalu said that is a thorn in the coalition's relationship, and they are yet to agree on a candidate. Reinsalu said there are a number of arguments that the position should be filled by IRL, not by Ansip - considering that Reform's Kallas has held vice president posts since 2004.
Kallas took over the PM's seat from Mart Laar at the beginning of 2002, forming a coalition with the Center Party until the 2003 Parliamentary elections.