New government to take office likely in the second half of April

Kaja Kallas and President Alar Karis.
Kaja Kallas and President Alar Karis. Source: Office of the President of Estonia.

Considering the state of election complaints that have reached the top court, it is likely Estonia's new government will be able to start work in the second half of April.

The Supreme Court is on course to finish processing election complaints this week after which the National Electoral Committee will declare the result of the March 5 general election.

Committee chair Oliver Kask told ERR that the election result will be declared as soon as possible after the last complaint is processed.

Provided the Supreme Court's decisions regarding the challenges will not present new obstacles, when the result can be declared depends on how quickly the seven members of the committee can convene. The electoral body's spokesperson said that it is also possible for the members to meet online.

The election result will officially enter into force after it is published in the State Gazette. The Ministry of Justice told ERR that should the result reach the editorial desk of the State Gazette on Friday afternoon, it would be published on Saturday (April 1). According to the Riigikogu Election Act, the election result enters into force the day after it is published in the State Gazette.

From there, the first sitting of the new Riigikogu needs to be convened inside ten days. The first sitting will be called by the president of the republic.

The date of the first sitting also depends on the president's schedule as the head of state must attend the inaugural sitting of the new parliament. The Office of the President told ERR that Alar Karis has quite a few meetings scheduled in April.

ERR's information suggests the first sitting could be convened on April 10 as Karis should be in Estonia then.

ERR News reported Monday evening that representatives of sides to the incoming coalition said they could have an agreement by April 10.

The 2019 Riigikogu elections were held on March 3 and the new Riigikogu first convened on April 4. These dates were March 1 and March 30 respectively for the 2015 elections.

The first sitting of the Riigikogu would see PM Kaja Kallas announce the outgoing government's resignation after which the president would task her with forming the next cabinet.

If the Reform Party, Eesti 200 and the Social Democratic Party (SDE) manage to conclude coalition talks by then, Kallas would also give the new parliament an overview of her government's principles after which the Riigikogu would provide her with the mandate to form it.

Should the sides also manage to allocate ministerial positions, the president could theoretically appoint the new government. However, the president has three days in which to appoint the government. Once more, the decision will enter into force after its publication in the State Gazette.

Next, the new government would give its oath of office in front of the parliament. Riigikogu sittings are held Monday to Thursday.

If all those steps are taken at "breakneck speed," it is theoretically possible for Kaja Kallas' new government to take office on April 13, a political observer who asked to remain anonymous suggested. However, it is more likely that the new three-way coalition will get to work in the second half of April.

The Reform Party has 37, Eesti 200 14 and SDE nine seats in the new Riigikogu.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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