'Olukorrast riigist' hosts argue over government crisis
Hosts of Raadio 2 talk show "Olukorrast riigis" Indrek Lepik and Hindrek Riikoja discussed the brewing government crisis on Sunday.
Maaleht Editor-in-Chief Hindrek Riikoja said that while coalition partners usually blame one another after falling out, this time, a considerable part of the Reform Party is also convinced Prime Minister Kaja Kallas' failure is behind much of the tension. Riikoja suggested Kallas lacks empathy and the ability to understand how people really live in Estonia.
"Different claims and examples she has given might be true factually, while she seems unable to understand how they might come across," he said, adding that Kallas has not demonstrated openness to compromise.
"Signals being sent by Reform and Center are diametrically opposite when it comes to energy support measures. Center has spent the outgoing week trying to get Reform to negotiate and discuss the situation, while Kaja Kallas has opted for calling everyone whose idea differs from hers populist, irrespective of whether they are from the opposition or coalition. She even referred to [fellow Reform member] Kristen Michal's proposals as populism," Riikoja said.
"Kaja Kallas has been lashing out in every possible direction. She has demonstrated no willingness to understand or compromise. That is what has made the political situation so heated," the journalist added.
Eesti Ekspress journalist Indrek Lepik was less critical of the PM. "Which other party has a logical, rational solution to offer? Everyone is simply offering to throw money around. While it's always nice to promise people money, we have seen how the previous government handled state finances and what it has led to," he said.
"If you say that Kaja Kallas has been rash in her statements… the alternatives we have been offered… leave me somewhat concerned for Estonian democracy because seemingly normal people, and perhaps some whom I personally consider less normal, have simply promised to throw around hundreds of millions of euros without a second thought," Lepik added.
"Looking at the parties now promising people hundreds of millions, for some reason, we have not seen similar enthusiasm from them when it comes to teachers' salaries and education and research funding. There's never any money when those things come up. While we are now promised hundreds of millions in benefits without anyone so much as batting an eye. That is what bothers me about this situation. There's always money to be found when one needs to score cheap points."
Lepik said that Estonia has an administrative crisis, while the current situation is not its only manifestation.
Riikoja went on to talk about whether the government will fall apart and the makeup of its potential successor.
"The first question is what would replace the current coalition. The fact there is no obvious answer is what's keeping the current government together," he suggested.
"The key issue is who would take over. While there is a theoretical possibility of Reform moving forward alone and as a minority government, looking for supporters from other parties for each individual topic, it would be an even more expensive project in terms of the promises they would have to make to keep it going," Riikoja offered.
"Broadly speaking, there are two options for a coalition. Reform can form a government with Isamaa and the Social Democratic Party (SDE) or we can see the return of the triumvirate of Center, the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) and Isamaa. However, while EKRE and the other opposition forces are saying they have ready-made solutions and are deeply concerned for the well-being of the people, the political reality today is that it is far more convenient for them to let Kaja Kallas and to a lesser degree the Center Party stew for a while, let their ratings take a nosedive, and then reap the fruits if not at elections a year from now then at least in spring or summer. So, while we might hear a lot of grand words about people and the desire to deliver them, no one is really keen to extend a helping hand today," Riikoja said.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski