AK: Is Reform Party going to replace its leader?

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform).
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

MEP and former prime minister Andrus Ansip (Reform) has been vocal in his criticism of the government and Prime Minister Kaja Kallas in managing the coronavirus crisis. Ansip's fellow party members say they have no plans on making a change in the chairwoman position.

Ansip criticized Prime Minister Kaja Kallas last week and told ERR on Monday that the government has not handled the coronavirus crisis well and that Kallas cannot present herself as irreplaceable.

Among many things, he said the government could have prevented Estonia from getting into a third coronavirus wave and that the party's support has dropped because people do not like Kallas.

Reform Party members Jürgen Ligi and Liina Kersna pushed back on Ansip's criticism with Ligi saying Ansip was not as up to date with Estonia's situation, as he works in Brussels.

ETV's daily affairs show looked into the issue and asked Ansip directly - should Kaja Kallas be replaced?

"I assume it will become clear what the methods that can be used are. But I certainly do not agree with us just getting into these crises randomly, by the power of the Almighty and that we only exit these crises through the brilliant decisions of our government. This approach is certainly not believable to the population and it is also not honest," Ansip said.

Responding to a question about Reform Party looking for a new chair, current deputy chairman and former chairman Hanno Pevkur said: "The party's general assembly takes place next year."

Ansip also noted that Kallas is not thinking about who will replace her and the former prime minister said Kallas should not present herself as irreplaceable. Ansip pointed to shipping line Tallink CEO Paavo Nõgene and Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna as potential replacements.

The Reform MEP said he is worried about the party's future, because public support has dropped as a result of the coronavirus crisis. "The public has also given an assessment of the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis. While Reform's support was recently 35 percent, it has now dropped to 22 percent," Ansip said.

Liina Kersna said the government has had to make tough decisions. "You can certainly criticize these decisions and how the government has acted. So I think criticism should always be taken seriously and learn from it, if possible," the education minister said.

Hanno Pevkur said the government has attempted to keep society as open as possible during the coronavirus crisis. The former Reform chairman said the party's positions are formed by the board and Riigikogu group.

"If Andrus Ansip wants to have an opinion, he can do so. One thing I do not approve is these Mart Helme-like attacks, which should not be the style of a Reform Party member," Pevkur said.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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