Atonen: Free Party would be overshadowed in opposition
The Free Party's chances of being heard in the Parliament opposition are low, as their voices will be drowned out by the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) and the Center Party, says former minister and Reform Party heavyweight Meelis Atonen.
Atonen told ETV the Free Party, which has criticized the coalition talks the most, would lose out by ditching the government for the opposition, and its heads Andres Herkel and Andres Ammas have already been sidelined once, when Res Publica merged with Pro Patria Union.
He said he has participated in many coalition negotiations but none have been so slow. Atonen said the biggest cog in the machine is the Free Party, which is demanding more than its share.
He used 2002 negotiations with the Center Party as a more positive example, when Edgar Savisaar, realizing from the beginning that the Reform Party will never agree to a progressive tax system, never brought it up in the negotations and simply agreed to an increase in pensions. Atonen said this is the preferred way of completing talks, potential coalition partners finding a few things they could push through.
He added that in the current talks, the Reform Party has agreed to decrease labor tax, as wanted by the Free Party, but now the Free Party is demanding other changes, such as an income tax increase, which according to the former economy minister, is akin to shooting down the process.