Ratas on survival of the ruling coalition: You'll have to ask an astrologer

Center Party chairman Jüri Ratas.
Center Party chairman Jüri Ratas. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

According to Center Party chairman Jüri Ratas, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) has decided to dissolve the current ruling coalition, leaving politicians to "draw new pictures of the land and sea."

"You'll have to call — I'm very sorry, but maybe [astrologer] Igor Mang; I can't predict that," Ratas responded when asked by ERR on Wednesday whether he considers it possible given the current situation that the current ruling Reform-Center coalition may survive after Midsummer and into the fall. "I think he's a better authority on that."

Ratas said that Prime Minister Kaja Kallas had declared the end of the current coalition during Wednesday's Question Time in the Riigikogu.

"If one side has said that, then we must use Kaja Kallas' words and 'draw new pictures of the land and sea,'" he said.

Asked if these "new pictures" could indicate the formation of a new Center-EKRE-Isamaa ruling coalition, the Center chairman said that he could not answer that today.

"What we have wanted is to move together with the Reform Party," he said. "What we also want is for family and children's benefits to be passed. "My feeling is that three parties want to move forward with that."

According to Ratas, there's been whispers in the Riigikogu that it's Reform that had proposed forming a new government to the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and Isamaa a week ago.

"But I couldn't believe in even my worst nightmares that the government's leading party would decide to submit 2,000 proposed changes to the bill for increasing children's benefits," he continued. "If the Reform Party starts blocking children's benefits with 10-minute recesses, we could be sitting here through September."

The Center Party chairman noted that Estonia's seeing very high, 20 percent inflation right now, and there aren't a lot of measures for coping with that.

"We need to review VAT and excise duty rates," Ratas said. "That is what many European countries are doing right now. As far as I know, our great example in fiscal policy, big Germany, has taken steps to temporarily reduce taxes. There are socioeconomic measures as well, and one measure is to provide children and families with greater security."

The coalition Reform Party on Wednesday afternoon submitted approximately 2,000 proposed changes to a bill of amendments to the Family Benefits Act in order to slow the bill's progress through the Riigikogu.

The bill, initiated by the Center Party, Isamaa, the Conservative People' Party of Estonia (EKRE) and the majority of Social Democratic Party (SDE) MPs, passed its first reading in the Riigikogu on Monday.

On Wednesday morning, the SDE decided to withdraw its signatures from the bill, citing that while it was in favor of increasing the size of monthly family benefits, it could not support an apparent effort on Center's part to topple the current government, which could in turn pave the way to EKRE returning to power.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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