Isamaa looking into possible coalition with Centre, EKRE, SDE

Isamaa chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder (right) shaking hands with EKRE chairman Mart Helme (left) at Kadriorg on Wednsday. 6 March 2019.
Isamaa chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder (right) shaking hands with EKRE chairman Mart Helme (left) at Kadriorg on Wednsday. 6 March 2019. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Isamaa is planning on looking into the possibility of forming a coalition against the election-winning Reform Party together with the Centre Party, the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE).

"We are prepared to talk to everyone," Isamaa chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder said on Vikerraadio's news programme Uudis+ on Wednesday. He added that while the Reform Party has already made its choice and extended an offer to Centre to begin coalition talks, Isamaa has its own opportunities.

"We now have more freedom morally — and the obligation — to take a look around together with other partners," he explained. "The winner of the elections has made its choice. We will naturally wait and see what Centre's response is, but we will definitely also speak with the other political parties as well."

According to Mr Seeder, Reform Party chairwoman Kaja Kallas called him around midday on Wednesday to inform him briefly of Reform's decision.

"Kaja Kallas called me on the way to the studio, congratulated us for earning second place in the pre-negotiation round, and said that they have decided to begun talks with the Centre Party," he recalled.

"This was a short and proper notification, and she did not explain their decision; our call was no longer than that," the Isamaa chairman explained. He added, however, that he was not disappointed.

"You can't do that in politics, that one moment you're happy and then you're disappointed; you have to keep your emotions under control," he said. "And this was in some respects a foreseeable decision, as forming a coalition with two parties is easier."

Mr Seeder nonetheless noted that while Kaja Kallas had said following the elections that she would prefer a coalition with Isamaa and the SDE, the Reform Party still went ahead and launched parallel negotiations with Centre.

Common ground, differences with Reform

Earlier this week, delegations from the Reform Party and Isamaa met to map out the two parties' common ground.

"We have quite a bit with the Reform Party," Mr Seeder said. "But we also talked about differences in position, such as on citizenship and migration policy. Isamaa supports the conservative line, and does not support the legalisation of dual citizenship. We also have differences of opinion when it comes to pension reform, as Isamaa's wish is for the second pension pillar to be made voluntary. Isamaa also wants to introduce tax exemptions tied to the number of children [in one's household], and we have other old topics as well, such as the Registered Partnership Act and the migration pact."

The Isamaa chairman predicts that Reform and Centre's coalition talks will be difficult. "If they want to reach a deal, both sides have to make concessions," he said.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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