Kallas: We tried to put together a balanced government

Incoming PM Kaja Kallas.
Incoming PM Kaja Kallas. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Chairman of the Reform Party Kaja Kallas said that sides to the incoming coalition tried to strike a balance between experience and novelty as well as men and women when choosing ministers.

"The idea behind the composition of my government was to strike a balance between men and women and between experience and novelty," Kallas told journalists after the Reform Party council meeting on Sunday.

Kallas gave an overview of all Reform ministers.

Minister of Finance Keit Pentus-Rosimannus has served as a minister before and was present for coalition talks, meaning that she knows the government's priorities and knows to keep an eye on them. Pentus-Rosimannus was involved in fixing the 2009 (crisis -ed.) budget and getting it ready for the switch to the euro, Kallas said. The incoming PM also defended Pentus-Rosimannus who is associated with the so-called Autorollo scandal. "Estonia is a country based on the rule of law and only courts can pass judgment – we have presumption of innocence," the Reform chairman said. Kallas added that Pentus-Rosimannus has never been charged with criminal offenses and that cases she has been involved with have all been civil matters. "Suspicions do not automatically manifest as guilt in the conditions of the rule of law," Kallas emphasized.

Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet – he is currently chairman of the Riigikogu National Defense Committee, has expert knowledge of the field and has been in charge of internal security in the past.

Minister of Rural Affairs Urmas Kruuse – he has served as rural affairs minister in the past and is the Reform Party's foremost spokesperson in this field. Kruuse also fought for farmers' rights this summer, Kallas noted.

Minister of Social Protection Signe Riisalo – has served as an MP and is clearly an expert of the social domain, Kallas said. The administrative area of the Ministry of Social Affairs will be divided in two, with Tanel Kiik (Center) continuing as health and labor minister, which is an important posting considering the healthcare crisis, Kallas said. The social protection minister will be in charge of families and social support, those in need of state support and pensions, the incoming PM said.

Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna has a master's cum laude in education organization and is a strong specialist in her field, Kallas emphasized.

Minister of Foreign Trade and Enterprise Andres Sutt has extensive international experience that should benefit him in his work. It is an important posting to which little content has been attached so far, while it can be done, Kallas pointed out. She said that Sutt will be in charge of foreign trade, information technology and enterprise, while the ministerial title could be changed in the future.

Maris Lauri who will become justice minister has also held various ministerial positions in the past. She has experience as an MP, is an analyst and a very punctual person, Kallas said. Because the justice ministry will be in charge of anti-corruption efforts, a stellar reputation is important, she emphasized.

Asked why Hanno Pevkur, Marko Mihkelson and Jürgen Ligi were left out of the government, Kallas said she sees Pevkur as Riigikogu deputy speaker since he is well versed in the parliament's rules and procedures. Because Reform did not get the foreign portfolio, Mihkelson did not get the posting and will likely become chairman of the Riigikogu Foreign Affairs Committee. Kallas said that the government is between two parties and does not have 34 positions (number of Reform's seats in the Riigikogu – ed.) to satisfy everyone.

Asked by ERR why the post of interior minister was given to the Center Party that stands suspected of corruption, Kallas said that Center brought their candidate (Northern Police Prefect Kristian Jaani) in from the outside. "It matters that he is an expert in the field and will do just fine," Kallas assured.

As concerns dissatisfaction concerning ministerial assignments, Kallas admitted there was some on both sides. "The important thing is for both partners to feel good about cooperation. There is no other way to form a coalition," she said.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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