Kiisler: Ratas taking advantage of what's left of the coronavirus crisis

Indrek Kiisler.
Indrek Kiisler. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, who finds himself in the €50,000 scandal, is pulling out all the stops to come off as a bystander," Indrek Kiisler writes.

The PM wrote on Facebook on Tuesday that the situation on the coronavirus front is once again serious. "Last week, the basic reproduction number was above 1 again and even came close to the level seen during the height of the epidemic in Estonia. This means we must take seriously and comply with recommendations that protect us from the coronavirus and contain its spread."

Professor Irja Lutsar said in a short comment to radio news that the basic reproduction number has been over 2 in Estonia and that the current level falls well short of the peak case rate.

Yes, the infection has become more widespread, while it needs to be kept in mind that we have so few total cases that daily fluctuations cause considerable change. In recent weeks, we have seen days that bring 21 new cases and those that only produce a few.

Why should Ratas publish the post on Tuesday when only seven cases were diagnosed?

The answer is banally political-technological. The PM and the Center Party are taking advantage of what's left of the coronavirus crisis to avoid other unpleasant topics.

Ratas did not deem it necessary to comment on Monday when asked by ERR radio news how it has happened the Center Party that has been punished in criminal procedure has once again committed an act that points to an illegal donation to put it mildly.

Why didn't the mysterious pile of money worry the party for six months? What about should the court decide to enforce the party's conditional punishment from last fall and order it to pay the €250,000 fine? The party is looking at a new court case in September that could culminate in a claim of over €1 million. These are serious questions.

The Center Party's secretary general Mihhail Korb is not answering his phone, with the rest of the party's top brass wondering around like hedgehogs lost in the fog. They have neither seen nor heard anything. Jüri Ratas' tactic is simple – to hide behind the walls of Stenbock House and hope people will grow tired of the donation scandal.

The government is set to discuss the European Union's joint borrowing on Thursday that will be performed as a sharp political debate for the benefit of the media. The Conservative People's Party (EKRE) can make a lot of noise on that subject and will have done the prime minister a solid.

Sooner or later, the party's secretary general will have to be sacrificed. Korb has taken the fall for Center in the past and likely will again.

Finally, on the subject of Center and EKRE's coalition partner Isamaa. We would do well to recall 2013 and 2017 local elections in Tallinn where the party's main slogan was the removal of the corrupt city government and sending the bribable Center Party to the opposition.

It is to be hoped Isamaa will take to the 2021 local elections a new slogan: "We managed to work with the embezzlers on Toompea Hill, why not downtown?"


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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