Coalition talks to continue between three parties, Free Party to go into opposition
Reform Party's board meeting concluded over the weekend that the party will continue coalition talks with Social Democrats (SDE) and IRL. Free Party's proposals to change the current tax system were described as unacceptable by the ruling party, meaning that the newcomer is left out of the talks.
Sven Mikser, the chairman of the Social Democrats and current Defense Minister, said to ERR that after leaving Free Party aside, Reform, SDE and IRL will have to start the coalition talks from scratch again. Mikser was rather sympathetic with regards to Free Party and expressed hope that Reform Party will be more flexible in future talks.
“Unlike in the conflict between Reform and Free Party, Social Democrats and Free Party did not have many dissensions. IRL and Reform Party also have different views on tax policies, therefore there may be many obstacles on our way, before we come to any agreement,” Mikser said.
Mikser said that SDE's red lines which are important in the negotiations, are related to addressing the economic hardship issues of large families and low salaries in general. He also said that all parties taking part of the negotiations need to be flexible in order to be constructive.
IRL's deputy chairman Jaak Aaviksoo said that contrary to claims by the Reform Party politicians, the Free Party was not as forceful in its demands for changes in tax policies, as it has been later portrayed by the governing party.
Aaviksoo conceded in an interview given to ERR that the communication with Free Party was complicated during the coalition talks because their politicians were still in early stages of formulating the party's political platform, and they also changed their viewpoints on some matters, making partners unsure whether the party wants to join a new coalition, or not.
However, Aaviksoo said that in his opinion, Free Party should have still been involved in the talks and Reform Party was unfair in its treatment of the newcomer.
"Contrary to Reform Party's claim, the Free Party was not as stubborn in its request to change tax policies, as it has publicly been declared later,“ Aaviksoo said.
But Aaviksoo also paid a compliment to prime minister Taavi Rõivas's negotiation skills.
"Rõivas established a large forum – 20 representatives from four parties took part. He invited everyone to express their thoughts and opinion, which took long time. And I do hope that Rõivas showed a good will, rather than using it as a tactic to exhaust people. But at some point, we all realised that the chatting room doesn not take us forward and we need decisions,” Aaviksoo said, expressing hope that Rõivas can be more focused and forceful than demonstrated until now.
Free Party proposed on Wednesday to discontinue the coalition talks in its current form, citing Reform Party's arrogant negotiating style and inflexibility to address the matters which were part of Free Party's election platform, such as reducing the state funding for political parties, for example.