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Reform, Isamaa, SDE each to receive five ministerial portfolios

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Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform).
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Reform Party, Isamaa and the Social Democratic Party (SDE) are each to be given five ministerial portfolios in Prime Minister Kaja Kallas' (Reform) new coalition government, Isamaa party chair Helir-Valdor Seeder told ERR on Monday morning.

According to Seeder, senior coalition partner Reform, which commands 34 seats in the 101-seat Riigikogu, will be charged with the portfolios of prime minister, minister of finance, minister of defense, minister of social protection and minister of rural affairs.

Isamaa, with 12 seats, will be given the portfolios of minister of foreign affairs, minister of education and research, minister of justice, minister of entrepreneurship and information technology (IT) and minister of public administration.

SDE, with 9 seats, will receive the portfolios of minister of the interior, minister of health and labor, minister of economic affairs, minister of the environment as well as minister of culture.

According to Seeder, an equal distribution of ministerial portfolios reflects a good balance in the new coalition. "The coalition being formed has set ambitious goals, and the distribution of portfolios will help these goals be realized as well," he said.

The Isamaa chair noted that he hasn't yet decided whether he himself intends to join the government as minister. "I suppose over the remaining days we'll think things through and make these decisions within the party," he said.

The three parties also agreed that the position of first vice-president of the Riigikogu, currently held by Reform member Hanno Pevkur, would go to Isamaa, as would the chairs of the Riigikogu's European Union Affairs Committee, Finance Committee, Environment Committe, and Rural Affairs Committee.

SDE party chair Lauri Läänemets said that he intends to serve as minister in the new government, but declined to indicate yet which; he believes it's important that coalition party chairs also be members of the government.

According to Läänemets, the three coalition parties haven't yet managed to reach an agreement regarding Estonia's member of the European Court of Auditors.

Currently representing the country is former prime minister and Isamaa member Juhan Parts, who was sworn in on March 15, 2017.

Reform losing two portfolios

According to Reform whip Mart Võrklaev, the prime minister's party is still in the process of working out their picks for minister. "It cannot be ruled out that nothing will be redone," he said.

Nonetheless, Reform's Maris Lauri and Andres Sutt will have to leave their positions, as the justice minister and entrepreneurship and IT minister portfolios will now be going to Isamaa.

Prime Minister and Reform Party chair Kaja Kallas announced at noon on Monday that the party's final picks for its ministers have been received by the party board, and that their names will be published together with those of the two junior coalition parties.

"We [chose] on the basis of Estonia gaining a functional government and [coalition] partners being equally represented in the government," Kallas said. "This will ensure the smoothest cooperation."

Seeder passes on cabinet

Kallas also said that Seeder has informed her that he will not be joining the government, and wants Isamaa's spot as first vice-president of the Riigikogu instead.

"That's complicated," she admitted. "It would be best if all party chairs were [in the cabinet], but we have experience from the previous government, so we'll be okay."

Representatives of the three parties said that the coalition agreement may be signed either this Friday or early next week.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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