Kallas: If they win elections, EKRE must be given chance to form government

Party chair Martin Helme speaking at EKRE's general meeting.
Party chair Martin Helme speaking at EKRE's general meeting. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

In an appearance on Vikerraadio's "Stuudios on peaminister" Tuesday, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said that should the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) win the Riigikogu elections next March, they must be given the chance to form a government.

"EKRE must get the chance then to form a government," Kallas said. "But not actually by means of secret agreements concluded behind people's backs. I don't intend to make such secret arrangements, because if EKRE has won the elections, then it also has the right to form a government. Should they fail to do so for some reason, or should we win the elections, for example, then of course the chance will go to the next [party] — as provided in the Constitution."

In a statement issued upon calling the 2023 Riigikogu elections on Monday, President Alar Karis said that the Riigikogu elections cannot become a battle between Estonia's two most popular political parties — the Reform Party and EKRE.

Kallas said that this isn't a political-technical battle, but rather an ideological one.

"We and EKRE represent two radically different directions," she explained. "This is a choice between two completely different Estonias. The choice is either an open society and a Western Estonia that is open to the world and greater than itself or a tiny, vicious and withdrawn country."

The current prime minister added that there are several parties in Estonia that will exceed the 5-percent election threshold. She nonetheless acknowledged that it is Reform and EKRE that will be claiming election wins.

Kallas warned that voting for parties with similar worldviews to Reform's may ultimately end up helping EKRE, should the other party fail to meet the election threshold.

"It's clear that all smaller like-minded parties — Eesti 200, the Social Democrats — are actually also drawing votes away from us, and should any of them fall below the threshold, then that could amplify EKRE's election win, and in that case that government will be formed on entirely different grounds and for an Estonia going in an entirely different direction," she said.

The 2023 Riigikogu elections, in which all of the Estonian parliament's 101 seats are up for election, will be held on Sunday, March 5.

MPs are elected to the Riigikogu for a five-year term.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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