Estonian prime minister resigns, disbands government
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) disbanded the sitting minority government on Thursday morning in order to start the formation of the new Reform/Isamaa/SDE coalition.
Following constitutional protocol, Kallas informed the Riigikogu of her wish to end the current government on Thursday morning and handed a resignation notice to President Alar Karis at Kadriorg Palace.
The prime minister and the remaining Reform Party ministers have all resigned from the government.
Karis has now nominated Kallas as prime ministerial candidate to form the next government.
Kallas has proposed the Riigikogu, which is on its summer break, hold an extraordinary session on Friday (July 15) to vote in the new coalition.
On Wednesday, politicians said they hoped a new coalition could be in place by Monday (July 18).
The Reform Party has been ruling as a minority government since Kallas kicked out the junior coalition partner, the Center Party, more than a month ago.
Last week, after more than a month of negotiations, it was announced the three parties in the new coalition will receive five ministries each under the new agreement and ministers are expected to be announced later today. It will have 56 seats in the 101-seat Riigikogu.
Kallas: We did many good and great things
In a statement issued on Thursday morning, Kallas said she was grateful to the ministers who lead the country with her at a difficult time, listing the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia's war against Ukraine and the energy crisis.
She also said the coalition did "many good and great things to make the Estonian state stronger and to support our people".
I will form a new government. According to the constitution, I just announced that the current government will resign.— Kaja Kallas (@kajakallas) July 14, 2022
I've proposed to convene extraordinary parliament sitting on Friday, where I'll ask for a mandate for the new government coalition.
"During the pandemic, we kept society open and the children in school, helped people cope with high energy prices, invested a billion euros in strengthening Estonia's defense capabilities, and achieved strengthening the defense of the NATO's Eastern flank, and we have been one of the biggest supporters of Ukraine.
"I am grateful to my ministers, with whom we led the country for a year and a half. Estonia has been in good hands," Kallas said.
Karis: New government should start work quickly
President Alar Karis said he had accepted Kallas' resignation request and nominated her as prime ministerial candidate to form a new government.
He urged the new coalition to get to work and encouraged all ministers to take care of their areas of responsibility without delay.
"I have no intention of referring to the new coalition as an interim or transitional government," Karis said in a statement.
"The next eight months will require the total dedication of all of the parties in the coalition and of every member of the government. This is not some extended election campaign: it is about steering Estonia through a succession of crises involving national security, the pandemic, the economy, people's ability to cope and ensuring a robust basis for the financing of the state."
I signed the resignation request of Prime Minister @kajakallas but also asked her to form a new government which could start working quickly and deal with all important issues of Estonian life. I hope that the new government can start its activities already next week. pic.twitter.com/9R64lPV3Lw— Alar Karis (@AlarKaris) July 14, 2022
Karis said it is important the new coalition work together as a team from the outset.
"The parties need to find strong candidates for the ministerial posts and to ensure that their delegations in the government are led by politicians who have the competence to make decisions and whose decisions will stand," he advised.
"That will make the cabinet the place in which the executive authority makes the final decisions needed for the governance of the state."
Over the coming days, Karis meet with proposed ministers to discuss the approach they intend to take.
The next election will take place in March 2023.
After the Government has resigned, the president has 14 days to appoint a candidate for prime minister and give the task of forming a new government.
Within 14 days, the candidate for prime minister presents the principles of the formation of a new government to the Riigikogu, after which the Riigikogu decides whether to authorize the candidate for prime minister to form the government or not.
Having received the authority, the prime ministerial candidate has seven days to present the membership of the government to the president, who then appoints the government to office within three days.
If the candidate for prime minister nominated by the president fails to receive a majority of the votes cast in the Riigikogu, or is unable or declines to form the government, the president is entitled, within seven days, to nominate another candidate for prime minister.
The government assumes office by taking an oath in front of the Riigikogu and the authority of the resigned government terminates.
You can read more about the process of forming a government in Estonia here.
Editor's note: This article was updated to add additional comments from President Alar Karis and to explain the process of forming a government.
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Editor: Helen Wright