The Reform Party opted for a non-MP as Finance Minister to avoid the prospect of their nemesis, whistleblower Silver Meikar, from taking a seat in Parliament, according to one view.
Because of the way the rules work, former Reform Party MP Silver Meikar, who accused the party of accepting shady money and was subsequently ejected from the party, would have taken a seat in Parliament instead of either Aivar Sõerd or Arto Aas, who were both tipped to take over Jürgen Ligi's soon to be vacant ministerial post.
Meikar is the replacement MP for Sõerd, a former finance minister, and Aas, the head of the Economic Affairs Committee, and the fact is one reason why the Reform Party opted for the relatively unknown Maris Lauri, Reform Party member since Monday, to replace Finance Minister Ligi, Äripäev journalist Aivar Hundimägi said in an opinion piece to ERR radio on Tuesday.
He said Lauri shows the Reform Party does not have many strong internal candidates, having gone with a non-party member for the second time in a year, after naming Anne Sulling as the minister for trade and entrepreneurship in March.
Hundimägi said the finance minister post is one where theoretical knowledge is not enough, and political skills are needed to find compromises between different groups, she also lacks leadership experience, which is needed at a organization such as the Finance Ministry.
“The current period is a fairly risk-free experiment in the Finance Ministry for [PM Taavi] Rõivas and the Reform Party. Next year's budget is complete and the current government's mandate runs out in March next year [when the general elections are held]. Thus there would not be great damage if Lauri fails as the finance minister,” he said.
“The Reform Party must be commended for bringing in a new talent into politics and giving Lauri the Finance Ministry post will give her an opportunity to collect a good haul at the elections in spring,” Hundimägi said, adding that she is likely to be placed high enough on the party's election list to win a spot in Parliament.
Lauri is currently the economic adviser to Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas, and has previously held the post of head economist at Swedbank, worked at the Bank of Estonia and lectured at universities.
"In a situation where the new finance minister won't have time to settle in, it has to be someone who is already at home in the field. As the head economist of Swedbank, Lauri has exceptional inside knowledge of the area and for the past seven months as my economic adviser, she has gained first hand experience in the processes of state financing," Rõivas said.