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Jürgen Ligi on Ansip criticism: I prefer peace and quiet at this time of year

Jürgen Ligi.
Jürgen Ligi. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Reform Party vice-chair and former government minister Jürgen Ligi says he disapproves of comments party-mate and MEP Andrus Ansip made Thursday morning, criticizing the performance of Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) and calling for her to be replaced.

Speaking to ERR, Ligi, who served under Ansip as finance minister, and before that, defense minister, said: "It's a free country. But that doesn't mean that this was pleasant. At quiet times (ie. Christmas – ed.), statements like that sound particularly shrill, and in fact at this time I would prefer to search for peace," adding it was not a time to air dirty laundry in effect.

"In any organization, this kind of public settling of scores exerts a rather negative effect," Ligi, who in the past has not shied away from issuing criticism of Kallas, albeit prior to her being prime minister, either.

While the integrity of personalities is important, there is little to gain from fighting publicly on a personal level, he added.

"We talk to each other. I don't take part in publicly slapping people down," he went on.

Ligi said that nonetheless the cabinet Ansip had headed up and which he had been a member of had been "a stronger team than the ensuing governments have had."

"However, that doesn't mean we have to point out all these personal interfaces all the time," he went on.

"The main thing is for the people of Estonia to understand what kind of state they have."

That said, a situation where a government trying both to maintain national security, constitutional order and keep the country running is rated so low by the public, is a major issue, Ligi went on.

Ligi explained his view of the the predicament in terms of negation, noting that the only alternative would be the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), which he said is currently paralyzing the functioning of the state, and also the overall constitutional architecture, making it a threat to security too.

Ligi conceded that the governing Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition has not been successful in conveying adequately to the public its major goals for the state and its related decisions.

The MP pointed to the ongoing hampering of both the legislature and, potentially, the judiciary meant parties had crossed limits they previously would not have.

"At present, as at the end of the year, the Riigikogu has not actually been working. This is no joke," Ligi said.

The blame could not be put solely on EKRE's shoulders, either, Ligi continued.

"The other opposition parties have also gone along with it. [Isamaa leader] Urmas Reinsalu is probably the architect of this whole saga, yet there has been no condemnation forthcoming on that. The sense that the state must function is not uppermost nowadays. This is a major, major issue."

In a lengthy interview given to Vikerraadio Thursday morning, Ansip, prime minister 2004-2014 and currently an MEP seeking reelection next year, said that both the Reform Party chair and the party's approach to policy making needed to be changed, while the lack of support, according to public polls, the coalition it is in with Eesti 200 and the Social Democrats (SDE), is itself a security issue.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Aleksander Krjukov

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