Dailies: Kaja Kallas' personal problem is now one for whole Reform Party

Kaja Kallas at the Reform Party general congress.
Kaja Kallas at the Reform Party general congress. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Estonia's two leading dailies both find in their Monday editorials that by returning Kaja Kallas as leader, the Reform Party has transposed her issues, on to the whole party.

Eesti Päevaleht's (EPL) editorial, titled "Reformierakond otsustas tuima edasi panna" (very roughly translated: "The Reform Party postpones the tough decision"), finds that the elephant in the room, widely-reported business activity the prime minister's spouse has had relating to Russia, was left out of the public discussions at Saturday's congress.

"But what does this mean?" EPL goes on.

"Isn't it that the party does not consider it necessary to in corpore even pose the question whether the prime minister, amid a conflict of loyalties, has certainly spoken truthfully, and has taken the sole correct choice. This constitutes approval." 

EPL noted that nearly a third of those Reform Party members who cast a vote did not support the continuation of Kallas.

The prime minister was the sole candidate on the ticket at Saturday's election vote – in fact the vote itself was conducted electronically last week, and the results were announced at the congress – and polled at 68 percent (636 votes in favor out of 931 cast).

The congress also presented the newly voted-in Reform Party board.

Also noteworthy was Finance Minister Mart Võrklaev not being voted to the new party board composition.

EPL finds that the minister's dogmatic style of governing is surely one of the reasons why the planned reorganization of state finances announced since the Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition entered office in spring has not met with widespread comprehension.

Meanwhile Postimees, in its editorial "Kaja Kallas veeuputuse ootuses" ("Kaja Kallas in anticipation of the flood") notes that the apophthegm "Après moi, le déluge," attributed to Louis XV of France, is highly fitting in relation to the situation Reform finds itself after Saturday's voting.*

"Whereas up until now the 'eastern transport scandal' was more of a problem for Kaja Kallas, from now on it is definitively and irreversibly one for the whole Reform Party, which means that the party must somehow extricate Kallas out to a new and warmer home, regardless of the consequences."

The eastern transport scandal (Estonian: Idavedude skandaal) is how the controversy over Kallas spouse's business interests has been referred to in the media.

Postimees likened Kaja Kallas to a weighty ballast for the Reform Party, one which brings the Reform "airship" inevitably closer and closer to the tree-line.

"In order to rise, you have to either shed some ballast or pump a larger amount of hot air into the airship. Unfortunately, no one has been able to impose on Kaja Kallas to talk less," Postimees went on.

"We hear of such pearls in a way that what is happening is more and more reminiscent of a Monty Python sketch, one where the hapless protagonist tries to create a distraction, instead getting more and more caught up. But every pearl is like a stone in the airship's gondola," Postimees adds.

*Satirists in Estonia had also been known to cast Kallas in somewhat of a "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" light, even before the current controversy.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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