Centre to decide on coalition talks with Reform on Friday

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre).
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Centre Party, the first runner-up in the 2019 Riigikogu election, will decide on Friday whether or not it will enter coalition talks with the election-winning Reform Party, daily Postimees reported on Thursday.

Following a meeting with Reform Party chairwoman Kaja Kallas on Wednesday evening, Centre Party chairman and outgoing Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said that the Centre Party would take two days to consider before deciding on Friday whether it would begin coalition negotiations with Reform.

Asked how the talks went, Ms Kallas said that they went well. She reiterated again following her meeting with Mr Ratas that she would not back down from the promise of exending the basic tax exemption of €500 per month to everyone.

The Reform chairwoman told the press that her party could offer a much more stable government in cooperation with the Centre Party.

"We talked about where we might have points of agreement," she said. "We spoke in more general terms at the moment, as Jüri Ratas will go to the board and seek a mandate for our invitation, which we presented today. He just had some specifications, some questions regarding how certain this wish is."

According to Ms Kallas, the Reform Party excluded the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and Isamaa from coalition talks for several reasons.

"I would highlight two major reasons," she said. "One is that the two of us [Reform and Centre] represent the largest electorate; we complement one another. And secondly, with the two of us, we could offer a more stable government for the state of Estonia in order to solve issues important to Estonia."

The chairwoman noted that the Reform Party received a very large mandate from voters for the party's tax plan, which is the position it would be following. "This is the issue we cannot back down from," she added.

Both Mr Ratas and Ms Kallas confirmed on Wednesday evening that they were not playing a double-crossing game.

The Reform Party board announced on Wednesday that it would propose launching coalition talks with the Centre Party.

Reform won the 3 March elections, earning 34 seats in the 101-seat Riigikogu. Centre came in second, earning 26 seats, and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) in third with 19 seats. Isamaa placed fourth overall, earning 12 seats, while the Social Democratic Party (SDE) will be the smallest party in the new Riigikogu with 10 seats.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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