Simson: Coalition with SDE, Pro Patria first choice of Centre Party ({{commentsTotal}})

Kadri Simson.
Kadri Simson. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Looking for coalition partners after the general election on 3 March, the Centre Party's first choice will be the Social Democrats (SDE) and Pro Patria, Centre deputy chair and Minister of Economic Affairs Kadri Simson said in an interview.

Ms Simson told daily Maaleht that if the Centre wins the upcoming election, she thinks its current partners in the government would be the party's first choice for next government also.

"We've seen that even with such different world views, it's still possible to find a consensus that moves Estonia forward," Ms Simson told the paper. "All the Reform Party wants to do is turn back time to the point where [former prime minister] Taavi Rõivas left office, but we have no motivation whatsoever to entertain that," she added.

If Reform Party chairwoman Kaja Kallas could bring herself up to speed with life in Estonia, then perhaps in four years she is fit to become Estonia's first woman prime minister, Ms Simson added.

According to the most recent voter poll commissioned by ERR, the Centre Party at 33% is far ahead of the other parties and at this point seems poised to win the election. Together with the Social Democrats' 7% and Pro Patria's 6% support, this puts the current coalition at 46%.

The current coalition of Centre, SDE and Pro Patria dates back to late 2016, when the two junior partners of what until that point was a Reform-led government toppled Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas, and Jüri Ratas took over.

This replaced a predominantly centre-right government led by Reform into a predominantly centre-left government led by the Centre Party, a fact conservative junior partner Pro Patria has had difficulties with. The government's continuous infighting on positions such as the UN Global Compact on Migration as well as personal animosities as between Pro Patria's justice minister, Urmas Reinsalu, and his SDE colleagues has been an issue on a quarterly basis at the very least.

Taking into account Pro Patria's increasingly right-leaning rhetoric in the ongoing campaign, the question remains whether there will be enough common ground left come election day.

Editor: Dario Cavegn



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