Indrek Saar: We will give Kaja Kallas the chance to prove herself as PM
We are prepared to consider something unorthodox in potentially supporting Kaja Kallas and her government with our votes, chairman of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) Indrek Saar writes.
Estonia will soon get its first female prime minister. And it is high time. When else if not on the precipice of our 30th anniversary. Once the Riigikogu votes Kaja Kallas in as prime minister, we will become a country where both the president and head of government are women. There is no doubt that this "two-woman rule" will send a strong signal inside Estonia to emphasize values that were out of favor with the previous government.
I make no secret of the fact that as a Social Democrat, it makes me proud. However, it is also clear that Kaja Kallas will not have it easy despite all the political credit she is given. A considerable part of society is happy with the way things are simply because the disorderly radicals have been kicked out of the government, while serious expectations are placed on Kallas. Demonstrating she is capable of leadership could prove to be the least of it.
First, she will have to concentrate on overcoming the largest healthcare crisis in history that will require resolute decision-making and rapid and effective action. The prime minister, mainly responsible for effective crisis management, must prevent that which is wont to happen in crises – the weakest part of society paying the highest price.
As chairman of a right-wing party, it will be a major challenge for Kallas to find solutions that will not manufacture additional inequality in society but will help those who have not shared in Estonia's success or need support after taking a hit in the crisis catch up. We have recently been treated to a painful reminder of what a lot of people feeling deprived and acute injustice in places can bring.
This ties into the central mission of the new prime minister and government to heal societal divides. A more coherent society cannot be achieved without contributing to social security and regional development.
That said, it must always be kept in mind that the Reform Party is forming a government with the Center Party that is without a doubt the flagship of political corruption in Estonia. It cannot be ruled out the task will prove too much.
This means that Kaja Kallas' government is encumbered going in and must restore the people's faith in political parties and the possibility of honest politics. The prime minister will need to have zero tolerance for corruption.
Efforts to boost party financing monitoring, reduce the effect of money on politics and bring to light all suspicious circumstances of how crisis support has been distributed are most certainly in order.
Kaja Kallas has made her first promises as concerns these matters. Mailis Reps not becoming minister is another good sign, while a lot of principled decisions and action lies ahead.
Kallas has no room to compromise regarding these issues. I believe the incoming PM understands this and will try to restore trust in the government, even though it might cause controversy in Center and also among the old guard of her own party.
That is why the Social Democrats wish to offer political support and trust credit. We are prepared to consider something unorthodox. Namely the possibility of using our votes to support Kallas and her government [in the Riigikogu]. While this has not been customary in recent political culture, these are extraordinary times.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski