Prime Minister: Yes there is a government crisis

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre).
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre). Source: ERR

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) has acknowledged that his government is facing a crisis, following a split in the cabinet on whether Estonia should sign the UN Global Migration Compact and calls from Social Democratic Party (SDE) leader Jevgeni Ossinovski for the justice minister Urmas Reinsalu (Pro Patria), who opposes the deal, to resign. More tacit calls for foreign minister Sven Mikser (SDE) to step down have come from Urmas Paet MEP (Reform).

"The government discussion yesterday and the demand by the chairman of SDE today indicate that the coalition's work performance has suffered a serious blow," Mr Ratas stated on his social media account on Friday morning.

Mr Reinsalu's party, Pro Patria, oppose the compact, which involves world leaders attending a meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco, on 10-11 December, as does the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE).

Returning to Tallinn ahead of schedule

"I have always stressed that the role of the prime minister is to maintain the government's ability to work, always stand up for the interest of our state and people and enhance our international reputation. I will be guided by this principle today, too," Mr Ratas added.

"I am currently on a tour of Ida-Viru County, but I will alter my schedule and return to Tallinn earlier than planned. I have called for an extraordinary Centre Party board meeting today at 17.00 to discuss the situation that has arisen. I consider it my duty and task to ensure internal stability and an operational government regardless of the fact that the elections will take place in three months," he continued.

Meanwhile Mr Reinsalu is due to make an announcement regarding his position, at 13.30 EET.

The crisis has gone all the way to the president's office. Kersti Kaljulaid stated that without government unity on the issue, she would not attend the meeting. For his part Mr Reinsalu, on legal advice and citing Austria, which opposes the deal, as a case study, questioned the president's powers over the government on the issue.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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