Reps: Kaja Kallas will become prime minister in new government

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Mailis Reps on ETV's "Terevisioon" on Thursday, January 14. Source: ERR

Center Party deputy chairwoman and head of the coalition delegation in dicsussions Mailis Reps told ETV's "Terevisioon" that it became clear by Wednesday midnight that the new prime minister of Estonia will be Reform Party leader Kaja Kallas and the new Center-Reform coalition will begin negotiating by leaving sensitive topics off the table.

Speaking on Thursday morning, Reps reiterated that Center's wish had been to join forces in coalition with both Reform and Isamaa. "Reform gave us 14 hours to decide. It was realistically on the table. But the option did not work in the end," she referred to Reform's opposition of the idea.

The former education minister admitted the current coalition partners wanted the coalition to continue on with the existing union of Center-EKRE-Isamaa. "Coalition partners woke up to the news that the prime minister had resigned. The partners wanted us to change prime ministers and move on. But we refused after introspection," Reps said.

She noted that the Center Party's actions were pointed toward changing the Coalition line-up: "EKRE's turbulent behavior was the reason behind why Center Party members found that giving up EKRE was simple. But it was emotionally difficult to leave our cooperation with Isamaa behind."

After a 14-hour meeting, Center accepted Reform's proposal to form a government with two parties on Wednesday night. Reps said it also became clear that Reform Party chairman Kaja Kallas would lead the government as prime minister.

She explained that the new government and coalition agreement will be processed as fast as possible, considering the country's tough fight with the coronavirus. Reps said this means that the coalition will be formed on equal grounds and there will be no attempt to reach an agreement on sensitive topics and final wordings.

"Sensitive topics will be discussed in time," Reps said but did not specify what the topics are. For example, Reform has demanded to change to a completely Estonian language education system for years, a topic that Center and its voters are clearly opposed to.

Jüri Ratas (Center) resigned as prime minister of Estonia in the early hours of Wednesday morning in the wake of a scandal surrounding a Tallinn property development.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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