The Reform Party's decision to start the coalition negotiations with the Center Party, despite corruption allegations, suggests corruption is tolerated to some extent, former General Prosecutor Lavly Perling has said. Reform has said it is not the party's job to protect Center.
The Center Party is currently under investigation over corruption allegations related to a state aid loan given to real estate development Porto Franco.
Perling wrote in Postimees (link in Estonian) that one of the main tasks of the new government will be managing corruption risks, but it will be difficult due to the allegations around the Center Party.
Perling highlighted the party will not be able to hold the interior or justice ministries, as previously suggested by Reform Party chairman Kaja Kallas. Something which was later denied by the deputy chairman of the Center Party Mailis Reps.
Kallas, who is leading negotiations for Reform and is the candidate for prime minister, said: "Looking from the outside, all sorts of comments can be made, but the truth is that all parties wanted to form a coalition with the Center Party."
She said the Reform Party had two choices - the continuation of the Center Party, EKRE and Isamaa coalition or a new union between Reform and Center: "These were choices and, of course, they can be criticized from the outside, but the important thing is that we get a functioning government."
Kallas said regarding corruption allegations, the Center Party has to take responsibility.
"The Reform Party is not the mother or defender of the Center Party. They will defend themselves. They have to present evidence and defend themselves in court. Politically our cooperation is important for making decisions which should be done because of the health and economic crisis."
Kallas said the Center Party has already been punished under criminal law, but this has not prevented anyone from cooperating with them.
"We were the last ones. If the decisions come one after another, then definitely the Center Party has to act accordingly. But only the Center Party can do it."
Editor: Roberta Vaino, Helen Wright