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MPs divided on whether ruling coalition in Estonia will hold firm in 2024

Toompea Castle, seat of the Riigikogu.
Toompea Castle, seat of the Riigikogu. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Coalition politicians are confident the Reform-Eesti 200-SDE government will remain in office even as opposition politicians claim that there will be changes in 2024.

MPs from both sides of the divide see next year being even tougher, in political terms, than 2023 has been.

Martin Helme, leader of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), in opposition, said: "What will actually happen – be it just a few ministers or a change in prime minister, or the coalition as a whole – is very difficult to forecast as of today, but I can't see that the present government will be able to continue in this form through to the European elections."

Those elections take place in early June 2024; Helme argued that already evident political fractures will become even more acute before that time.

Liisa Pakosta of coalition party Eesti 200 finds that 2024 should be a year of political compromises.

Liisa Pakosta Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

"That has to be viable, because it is the reason why people elected this Riigikogu in the first place. They didn't want us to be fighting with each other, They wanted us to seek consensus," Pakosta said.

Riina Solman of opposition party Isamaa concurred, saying: "I really hope that the coalition will find common ground with the opposition, as this would actually be good for the people of Estonia."

Riina Solman Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Much of 2023 has seen deadlock at the Riigikogu as opposition parties, primarily EKRE, engaged in a filibuster of bills just as the coalition got those bills passed by tying them to a vote of confidence in itself – in other words MPs were voting on the government itself and not the content of those bills.

The coalition has a majority at the 101-seat Riigikogu.

Tanel Kiik, Center Party chief whip at the Riigikogu and a former government minister, came down on the side of a likely change in the coalition next year.

Tanel Kiik Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

"I rather more predict that (a new government) will arise. When a new administration comes in, then [we will see] what the main political messages and steps that will be taken will be," Kiik said.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, coalition MPs that ERR spoke to disagree.

Priit Lomp (SDE) said that the coalition is in good health.

"Things are actually functioning," Lomp said.

Priit Lomp Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

"Everything agreed upon gets enacted, plus a little more. If we continue in the same way to extract ourselves from this difficult situation and everyone makes an effort, I see no reason why there should be dischord," Lomp added.

Erkki Keldo, Reform's Riigikogu whip, said 2024's "keyword" will be the economy.

Erkki Keldo Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

"Stimulating the economy with various initiatives, cutting bureaucracy and making savings will certainly be an issue. At the same time, we have to examine how we can keep the state's financial situation at a reasonable level," Keldo said.

The Riigikogu returns to work on January 7.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming

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