Ratas, Kallas unlikely to consider coalition with EKRE in 2019

Ratas beat Kallas to it, announcing already before Monday's scuffle that he won't consider working with EKRE in a possible future coalition. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Centre Party chairman and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas as well as Reform Party chairman Kaja Kallas have recently said that they won't consider working with the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) following next year's general election.

EKRE was considered the potential kingmaker earlier on in the campaign, and both the Centre Party and the Reform Party took time to clarify where they stand in the issue of a potential coalition with the far-right party.

As leading up to the parliamentary vote on 26 November on the United Nations' Global Compact on Migration, political rhetoric got uglier, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas declared already last week that he would find it "impossible" to work with EKRE in a coalition government.

After EKRE supporters assaulted a candidate of the Social Democratic Party outside the Riigikogu before the vote on Monday, Kaja Kallas' ambiguity came to an end as well. Referring to Indrek Tarand MEP's being dragged down and kicked by EKRE supporters, Kallas told fellow Reform members: "Today all parties understood that EKRE cannot be taken seriously as a real partner in government."

To what extent Reform might depend on other parties come the general election on 3 March next year remains to be seen. In the past, the party, until 2016 in government for a record-breaking 17 years, usually managed to find ways to integrate even those partners whose convictions differ greatly from their own.

Political considerations notwithstanding, the atmosphere between EKRE and other parties' politicians is not good, and the readiness for personal cooperation between party members as well as supporters at a minimum. Having branded everyone who did not vote against the UN Compact in parliament on Monday a traitor, and with several high-ranking politicians since having received a flood of hate mail and in some cases even death threats, EKRE's standing as a political party is being questioned now more than ever.

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Editor: Dario Cavegn

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