Prime Minister Announces Resignation of Government (2)
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said that he, along with his national governemnt, will resign on Tuesday, March 4.
Ansip was speaking in Tartu at a traditional Independence Day-eve speech on the state of affairs of the nation Sunday night when he made the announcement.
The resignation is the first step in a leadership reshuffle in the Reform Party. European Union Commissioner and founder of the party Siim Kallas is expected to take his place and lead the party into the 2015 parliamentary elections. The party is due to hold a congress on Sunday, March 2.
“There is no doubt that the current government can still do much for Estonia. But I think it is wise to hand over the prime minister post now, as only then will people have, in 2015, a choice to vote for or against the continuation of the new policies,” Ansip said.
IRL and the Reform Party are likely to form the next government, but the Social Democrats now have enough MPs to offer an alternative, having attracted a number of ex-Center Party MPs to its ranks.
Ansip, 56, has been tipped to become Estonia's next EU commissioner after Kallas' term ends in the second half of the year, although the Reform Party's coalition partner, IRL, could insist on its own candidate, citing a policy of rotation between the two parties.
Ansip has held the post since 2005, having guided his party to victory in two parliamentary elections. He is, or was, one of Europe's longest-serving prime ministers.