Sildam: Sacrificing Priske eroded trust inside the government

Anvar Samost and Toomas Sildam.
Anvar Samost and Toomas Sildam. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Forcing Secretary General of the Ministry of Social Affairs Marika Priske to leave office added to feelings of mistrust inside the government, host of the Vikerraadio talk show "Samost ja Sildam" Toomas Sildam said on Sunday.

"I believe the sacking of the secretary general has several outcomes. Firstly, relationships in the government certainly did not improve. Trust was eroded instead as from what I've gathered from the media, Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) did not want Priske let go. The proposal did not come from him. /.../ It was done over Kiik's head. I cannot see it adding to mutual trust if that is how it happened," Sildam said.

"Secondly, when Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that she wants vaccination shifted into overdrive – I would like to see that in a situation where the secretary general will leave, the deputy secretary general in charge of healthcare has already left, vaccination effort coordinator Marek Seer's contract is about to expire, and I believe we are also looking at a new director of the State Agency of Medicines. Will we set the sight on director of the Health Board next? I wish the best of luck to everyone who will be occupying these positions and who will inevitably need time to settle in. How will all of that help achieve a new level in vaccination as the PM hopes? We shall see," the journalist said.

Co-host Anvar Samost disagreed. "As concerns climate in the coalition, I do not see it changing. Why should it? There has been no love or trust lost between the Reform and Center parties from the first. It has been a marriage of the mind where the sides regard one another with suspicion and check everything twice. That is not to be negative, rather, it has been the logic of coalitions in Estonia," Samost said.

Sildam agreed that the relationship of Reform and Center has not been too warm in the government. However, he added that there are differences when looking at party chairmen and ministers.

"If we look at the relationship of party chairmen, we cannot say it has been trusting and harmonious. But looking inside the government, the level of ministers, cooperation has been quite smooth," he said.

Sildam gave as an example the good terms between Center Party ministers Jaak Aab and Tanel Kiik with Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform). "Not just being mutually courteous but a measure of trust. I believe it matters. And it has been the case, no matter how we describe the relationship between party leaders," Sildam said.

Samost did not agree. "I think you are confusing trust and polite communication here. Were there great trust between Kallas and Kiik, the former would not have ordered State Secretary Taimar Peterkop to call Marika Priske on Friday evening and tell her she needs to write a letter of resignation," Samost reasoned.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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