Helme on potential coalition with Center and Isamaa: I'm open to ideas
Martin Helme, chairman of the opposition Conservative People's Party (EKRE), said that he has spoken over the phone to Center leader Jüri Ratas to discuss recreating the three-way coalition of EKRE, Center and Isamaa.
"We had a kind of first round of questions, a quick phone call to discuss whether it makes sense for us to sit down and see if we can find enough common ground to last until elections. I remain open to ideas," Helme told ERR.
But he added that there have been no meetings with Center of Isamaa leaders.
Helme suggested that it is impossible to say whether the return of the Center-EKRE-Isamaa coalition or Reform managing to lure Isamaa into a coalition with the Social Democrats is more likely.
"I still believe we could just as easily see a minority government or extraordinary elections. Things are confusing enough. I cannot say what will happen until I have met with people to look them in the eye – until then, I would not bet on any one possibility," he suggested.
Helme said the news of the government dissolving was anything but unexpected.
"I believe it was clear that we would either convince Center to join us in bringing a vote of no confidence against [Education Minister] Liina Kersna (Reform) first or Reform would fire one or all Center ministers before that happened. /…/ That is one reason we did not file the motion yet. Center was very much split and would have seriously considered joining it next week," Helme said.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said on Friday afternoon that she has proposed to the president releasing from office all seven Center Party ministers.
Following that, President Alari Karis released from office Minister of the Environment Erki Savisaar, Minister of Culture Tiit Terik, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas, Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab, Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani, Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik and Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets.
The government row started when Reform's coalition partner Center joined with opposition parties to enter into Riigikogu proceedings a bill to hike family benefits on May 12.
While the Social Democrats initially signed the bill introduced by 54 Center and opposition MPs, they later withdrew their signatures, saying they could pave the way for the return of a Center-EKRE government.
Reform has officially proposed coalition talks to the Social Democratic Party and Isamaa.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski