Clock runs out before Kallas given Riigikogu mandate to form government

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Kaja Kallas (Reform) addressing the Riigikogu on Tuesday. April 11, 2023.
Kaja Kallas (Reform) addressing the Riigikogu on Tuesday. April 11, 2023. Source:

Reform Party chair Kaja Kallas, who was nominated by President Alar Karis on Monday as candidate for prime minister of Estonia, did not yet receive a Riigikogu mandate for the formation of a new government Tuesday, as the day's Riigikogu sitting ended before the decision was put up for a vote.

"[Kallas] didn't receive [a mandate] today as Riigikogu sittings end at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays," Second Vice-President of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas (Center) explained in an appearance on Vikerraadio's "Uudis+" that day. "Sittings can be extended by one hour if two thirds of those who vote, vote in favor of doing so. Two thirds did not vote in favor today. This means that the question and answer session will continue at the next sitting."

The Riigikogu's next regular sitting is scheduled to be held Wednesday starting at 2 p.m., Ratas added.

The Reform Party parliamentary group had put extending Tuesday's sitting up for a vote, but came up short of the necessary support, with 58 MPs voting in favor and 35 MPs against extending it. As a result, Tuesday's Riigikogu sitting concluded at 1 p.m. as scheduled.

At 10:35 a.m. on Tuesday, the Riigikogu reached the item on the agenda involving granting prime ministerial candidate Kaja Kallas the authority to form a government. Kallas began with a 20-minute speech, after which MPs were given the opportunity to ask the candidate questions.

Each MP has the right to ask up to two oral questions of the candidate. Throughout the course of the sitting, oppositional candidates also asked several procedural questions.

No debate is opened when confirming the candidate as prime minister. Granting the candidate for prime minister the authority to form the government is decided by a majority vote in the 101-seat Riigikogu.

Not until Monday

The XV Riigikogu held its inaugural sitting on Monday, after which Kallas formally announced the resignation of the government, her second cabinet, to President Alar Karis in connection with the new Riigikogu convening.

Karis thereafter proposed that Kallas, as chair of the 2023 Riigikogu election-winning Reform Party, form a new government.

In accordance with the Government of the Republic Act, the new Estonian government is appointed to office by the president within three days of the day the prime ministerial candidate authorized by the Riigikogu to form a government presents the membership of the new government to the president.

While the next Riigikogu sitting will be held Wednesday already, Kallas likely won't have the opportunity to present the membership of the government to the Estonian head of state until Monday, as Karis is scheduled to depart for a visit abroad on Thursday.

Sixty-seat majority

Following the conclusion of talks initiated three days after the conclusion of the 2023 Riigikogu elections on March 5, the election-winning Reform Party on Monday signed a coalition agreement with Eesti 200 and the Social Democratic Party (SDE).

Reform won 37 seats in the XV Riigikogu. Together with Eesti 200's 14 and the SDE's 9 seats, the incoming coalition will command a 60-seat majority in Estonia's 101-seat unicameral parliament.

Upon taking office, the incoming coalition government will mark Kallas' third cabinet.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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