Political scientist: Coalition talks will be difficult
Fundamental differences between the Reform Party and Isamaa herald difficult coalition talks, with a new government formed by Midsummer Day unlikely if the sides refuse to make major concessions, political scientist Martin Mölder said on the "Vikerhommik" radio morning show.
"Talks will definitely not be easy. Isamaa and Reform will be hard-pressed to find common ground on several issues. Thinking back to Isamaa's main election promises from April, pledges to invest heavily in children and national defense relied on loan money. This should be quintessentially unacceptable for Reform. Without an agreement, both sides would have to surrender major ground," Mölder suggested.
The analyst remained skeptical when asked whether Estonia could have a new government by Midsummer Day.
"Midsummer's is a week and a half from now. It all depends on the speed at which parties are willing to give ground. Rather, I share the skepticism reflected over the weekend. Especially if we recall what [Isamaa Secretary General] Priit Sibul emphasized. That Isamaa would like to argue every point before getting to work. If they want to decide everything beforehand, the process will take longer than merely until Midsummer Day."
Should the talks fail, a coalition between the Center Party, Isamaa and the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) would be next in line. Mölder said there are other options, including Reform continuing to run a minority government.
"It is not completely unlikely that an attempt will be made to form a national unity government with the participation of all political parties."
The talks will be a touchstone but also an opportunity for the third potential partner – the Social Democratic Party (SDE).
"The greatest challenge that SDE face is sending the message that something depends on them. They have been out of the limelight for a long time, and people do not understand who they are or what they represent. They made their presence known by signing draft legislation that seeks to hike family and child benefits but soon backed out again. Isamaa have said that they will not be pulling their signatures. SDE was initially willing to support the bill Isamaa put forward but withdrew to keep EKRE from being part of the next government. Now that this risk has been defused, SDE could return to support the bill and demonstrate they contributed something to the new government," Mölder suggested.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski