Kallas: Opposition bullying me as too afraid to go down no-confidence route

Kaja Kallas at Thursday's cabinet meeting, which is followed by a press conference.
Kaja Kallas at Thursday's cabinet meeting, which is followed by a press conference. Source: Jürgen Randma / Government Office

Opposition MPs do not have the gumption to initiate a vote of no-confidence in Kaja Kallas as prime minister, the prime minister herself says, and instead are attempting to intimidate her to the extent that she throws in the towel.

Appearing at the regular government press conference Thursday, the prime minister addressed the comments of those, including the head of state, President Alar Karis, who have suggested Kallas resign, in the wake of revelations that her husband had had business interests in Russia, down to the present.

"I thought, what have I ever done to these people?" the prime minister of Estonia said.

"In my view, I am trying to do good. To make the right decisions for Estonia," she went on.

In any case, considering the two coalition partner parties back her, trying to foment a government crisis at this point in time does not help Estonia's security policy, the prime minister added.

In any case, the opposition leaders' spinning a yarn whereby, if she were to step down, "peace will reign on earth and there will be an end to Riigikogu filibustering," was a false impression, the prime minister added, and she has no plans to step down.

Kallas was backed verbally by the foreign minister, Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200), who said that exhorting the prime minister to resign had become somewhat of national sport in recent weeks.

"But the resignation is up to the Prime Minister herself. And I am glad that Kaja Kallas has clearly stated that she will not resign. Because then what would be the options?" Tsahkna said, referencing the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE)-Center Party-Isamaa coalition in office 2019-2021, and now in opposition.

Tsahkna was formerly a member of Isamaa.

The foreign minister also expressed surprise at the line taken by Alar Karis on the matter, adding that he had in effect joined the EKREIKE opposition on this.

Margus Tsahkna with Kaja Kallas at Thursday's cabinet meeting. Source: Jürgen Randma / Government Office

As for EKREIKE; they had not come up with anything new since the filibuster in spring and early summer, other than adding the condition of Kallas' resignation to the list of requirements for calling that filibuster off.

At the back of all this was a refusal to accept the election results from March 5 this year, when Reform won a total of 38 seats, Eesti 200 a further 14 – its first Riigikogu seats since being founded in 2018.

Evidence of this can be found in talk of a snap election on the part of some opposition politicians, he added.

The minister agreed that creating a government crisis right now would not be the best way to go.

In any case, Prime Minister Kallas said, even if she were to resign, the opposition filibuster would continue – citing EKRE leader Martin Helme.

Kallas said while a vote of no-confidence in her would be constitutional, the current efforts to "bully" her out of her post are not.

Kallas added the demands from EKRE were on a par with a hypothetical situation in which she would have demanded the resignation of Martin Helme as EKRE leader, before appearing before the Riigikogu's anti-corruption committee.

The prime minister added that her husband voluntarily went to the International Security Service (ISS) for a security check-up, with the ISS confirming that the spouse, Arvo Hallik, had no issues along those lines.

This did not stop the episode being weaponized by the opposition, however, Kallas added.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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