Journalists Mirko Ojakivi, Evelyn Kaldoja and Urmas Jaagant discussed the health of the government and found that differences between coalition partners should not manifest in government decision-making on the Vikerraadio "Rahva teenrid" talk show on Saturday.
Ojakivi said that [former culture minister] Anneli Ott's (Center) resignation statement on Tuesday was a clear sign of a difficult relationship in the government. "How the government seems to lack mutual affection, respect and cooperation in the big picture. The health of the coalition comes off quite poor listening to that speech," the journalist said.
"Influential Reform Party members suggested weeks ago that the government is experiencing a so-called Italian strike where Center has torpedoed more important topics and where important stances have not been take because of differences. The most important thing in this crisis is not allowing these differences to manifest in crisis decisions. One of the partners failing to get what it wants must not result in general inaction," Ojakivi said.
Evelyn Kaldoja offered that it was clear Ott made the decision to leave on her own and not following pressure from the prime minister.
"What it comes down to is that we are talking about a minister who has been ambivalent about getting vaccinated and has not been otherwise brilliant at her job it seems… There was no executive order from the prime minister to suggest she needed to go, it just sort of happened. There is no order, no teamwork there [the government]," Kaldoja suggested.
Urmas Jaagant disagreed. "Looking at how it happened, it was not all that random. Considering how quickly Ott's replacement was found, it was clearly a process long in the planning. There was a prior agreement of some sort in place, and once all the pieces were lined up, the moves that had to be made followed," Jaagant said.
"The minister's speech made me think that the first half might have been the work of the party's PR people, while it seems to me that Ott, either knowingly or unknowingly, also hurt the Center Party starting from the half-way point," Jaagant offered.
Ojakivi pointed out that Center did not rush to challenge Ott's message of sabotage by the Reform Party and culture being the victim.
"I did not notice party leader Jüri Ratas or anyone else rushing to refute what she said. In other words, one coalition partner's criticism of its own government remains valid," Ojakivi suggested.
He added that he is left with the impression that Center is looking for a way out of the government and suggested that it is reflected in appointing Terik minister of culture.
Jaagant said he believes Reform was consulted before Tiit Terik's appointment. "Rather, what I noticed is that he is being brought in from Mihhail Kõlvart's team in Tallinn. It constitutes a slight change."
Editor: Marcus Turovski