Ratas: Centre will do utmost to be part of next coalition

Jüri Ratas with Minister of Education Mailis Reps.
Jüri Ratas with Minister of Education Mailis Reps. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) appeared on ERR's ETV late on Sunday, saying that he will do his utmost to try and make Centre a part of the next government. He does not rule out that the next government may not include the winner of the election, Mr Ratas said.

Asked if his party would be ready to join the next coalition as a junior partner, Mr Ratas said "Of course." Which parties such a coalition might include is definitely too early to tell, he added.

"I won't make predictions, I'll work to see the Centre Party in the best possible positions in the next coalition," the prime minister said.

At the same time, the possibility that there might be a government that doesn't include the winner of the elections couldn't be excluded entirely, he added. The Centre Party-led government still in office is an example of such a situation: "This has happened before."

Commenting on Centre's forecast 25 mandates in the next parliament, Mr Ratas said that the eventual number will likely be greater, and that the final result of the election might end up being more or less the same as it was in 2015, which would mean 27 seats for his party.

The Reform Party's greater than expected success comes from the fact that it has done very well addressing those who tend to vote electronically, Mr Ratas speculated. But he also conceded that the unexpectedly low turnout in Tallinn and in Ida-Viru County might have kept results low.

His party will have to carefully analyse the election results to see why exactly things went the way they did. "Perhaps the frustration with the local level affected the Riigikogu election as well," Mr Ratas said.

What is sure at this point is that the current coalition of Centre, the Social Democrats and Isamaa can't hope for a majority in the next parliament.

Quite different from current goings-on in the leadership of the Social Democratic Party, where Minister of Culture Indrek Saar has already hinted that he will be interested in replacing Jevgeni Ossinovski as party chairman, Mr Ratas is safe in his role as Centre's leader.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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