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Government falls as Social Democrats and IRL leave coalition

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After the Reform Party acknowledged earlier on Monday that the government had entered a crisis, the junior partners in the coalition, the Social Democrats and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL), announced that they were asking Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas (Reform) to resign.

Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL): Reform Party’s threats make new coalition necessary

The party announced in a press release on Monday evening that its leadership had decided to ask Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas to resign. They had discussed the crisis in the current government, and arrived at the conclusion that there wasn’t enough trust among the coalition partners to continue, the statement read.

The threats made by the Reform Party’s leaders as well as their talks with other parties about a potential new coalition would make continuing hypocritical, it went on.

IRL had no reason to express its lack of confidence in Taavi Rõivas in a vote, but asked the prime minister to resign in Tuesday’s sitting of the Riigikogu. Meanwhile IRL was open to consultations to form a new majority government, the statement concluded.

Social Democrats: Rõivas’ leadership dogmatic, not ambitious enough

Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Jevgeni Ossinovski, expressed his party’s disappointment with the government of Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas (Reform) in a press release on Monday evening. The Social Democrats were leaving the coalition and would concentrate on negotiating a new majority government, the statement read.

Ossinovski wrote he had said already a year and a half ago taking over the party’s chairmanship that the politics that had taken Estonia this far couldn’t take it any further. The approach of the past decade in economic, social, education, and regional policy didn’t work anymore.

The Social Democrats hadn’t joined the government to be in power, but to make those important decisions that would take the country ahead, Ossinovski went on. They had repeatedly urged the prime minister to raise the ambitions of his government, but to no avail.

The world was changing too quickly to only settle for what had been set out in the coalition agreement, which is why the Social Democrats had suggested to go beyond it to solve the country’s problems.

In terms of the party’s own goals, Ossinovski stated that though this government had achieved a reform of the support provided by the state for children and families, it hadn’t gone beyond cosmetic adjustments in too many areas.

The changes the party had proposed in key questions of society, such as raising teachers’ salaries to 120% of the national average, and demanding that the tax burden on those with the smallest incomes be reduced, Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas dogmatism in tax matters had led to the opposite, namely working towards reducing the tax burden of those who get paid.

Also, the matter of funding Estonia’s healthcare system still wasn’t solved, and the Reform Party continued to block stricter legislation concerning alcohol abuse.

The Social Democrats had realized that Taavi Rõivas was incapable of making the decisions Estonia needed, Ossinovski wrote. The Reform Party, after more than a decade in power, had run out of ideas, and was holding on to ideas that had expired.

Estonia’s government needed new energy and fresh ideas, a new approach to internal security especially with regards to minorities and the different groups in Estonia’s society, a complete tax reform, make investments in necessary infrastructure, and stop the trend towards the extinction of countryside life.

All this wasn’t possible in today’s government, Ossinovski wrote, which is why the Social Democrats would take up consultations with parties to form a new majority government.

Editor: Editor: Dario Cavegn

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