Ratas: No major cooperation from opposition
According to Jüri Ratas, the Center Party's leader, the opposition is unlikely to cooperate because the parties are so different. He said that the party will work hard to provide an alternative to the Reform Party.
"I proposed an extraordinary congress to the board yesterday, which could be held on June 17, but the final decision on whether to hold it will be made by the beard members.
"As it has for the past three decades, the Center Party must continue to act as a balancing force in Estonian politics," Ratas said to ERR.
"We prioritize socioeconomic challenges such as healthcare improvements and pension increases, but I have also brought out that we have to implement specific programmatic initiatives, such as everything related to the environment, nature conservation and the transition to all-Estonian-language education. Furthermore, our youth policy must be carefully considered, including educational opportunities, healthcare issues and, especially, mental health," Ratas said.
Ratas does not anticipate significant collaboration between opposition parties in the Riigikogu due to the parties' diversity. Ratas said that for the Center Party to properly address their concerns, the party must become the principal opposition force and a genuine alternative to the existing government.
Ratas said that the party strives to be the leader in the opposition, "For years, Center has provided an alternative to Reform."
Ratas said that there had been multiple candidates for the party's leadership in the past. "This is a beneficial development since it enables party members to support the candidate they deem best qualified. The Center Party has known me for over two decades, including my time as prime minister, and it is true that during the party's four or five years in power coalition, it has upheld the Popular Front of Estonia's (Eesti Raahvarinne) core principles," Ratas said.
"Today, I'm meeting with regions and municipal councils. I am willing to continue as party chair, but we will decide who will run for office jointly," he said.
"We have not discriminated based on the language that Estonians speak, as they are all our people," Ratas went on to say, "but on February 24, when the aggressor initiated the war in Ukraine, the political situation in Estonia changed and this has led to a number of disagreements within the party. Yet, our commitment to our core principles remains undivided."
Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!
Editor: Mari Peegel, Kristina Kersa