Claims last week that coalition negotiations between the Reform Party, the Social Democrats (SDE) and Isamaa were nearing a deal were far from the truth, the leader of the latter party, Helir-Valdor Seeder, said Sunday, adding that common ground has not been met on most of the key issues.
The talks began on Monday, June 13 but had to end on the evening of Wednesday, June 22 both for the Jaanipäev break and to allow for Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, who is Reform's leader, to head to Brussels for a summit.
The situation by that time was, Seeder says, that: "There is no common ground on most of the key issues," adding that he could not say when and in what format the talks might continue in the new week.
"However, it is [too] optimistic that the coalition agreement will be ready soon – that is not the case. It will definitely take more time," Seeder continued.
Of areas which had led to disagreement, Seeder mentioned the transition to Estonian-language education which, he said, and "not progressed one bit".
While a policy of Estonian-only education has been a central policy for the Reform Party as well as Isamaa, Seeder said, of SDE that they: "Have dug themselves firmly into a trench and no light is yet visible at the end of the tunnel."
Increasing funding for education and a few other issues were areas which had seen more of a meeting of minds, however, Seeder added.
The income tax-free allowance and whether to raise it, and contributions towards national defense, were other areas where not so much progress has been made, he went on.
Reform has ruled alone as a minority administration since Prime Minister Kallas dismissed the seven Center Party government ministers from her cabinet, ending weeks of deadlock, ostensibly on a bill to raise family support payments.
The Riigikogu is on summer recess until September, but can be convened on an extraordinary basis to vote on a coalition line-up, if a deal should be struck between the three parties.
Isamaa had also had an offer to enter talks with Center and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), but opted to go with Reform and SDE instead, after a week's deliberation.
SDE leader Lauri Läänemets had said earlier on Wednesday, June 22, that a coalition deal may well have materialized that evening or by the Thursday, but this did not happen in the end.
Editor: Andrew Whyte