Ansip wouldn't offer Ratas prime minister, but compromise on tax instead

Andrus Ansip.
Andrus Ansip. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Former Reform Party chairman and prime minister, Andrus Ansip, told ERR's Mirko Ojakivi in an interview on Tuesday that the winning party offering the position of prime minister to the Centre Party just to get coalition negations going would make no sense.

"I wouldn't think such an offer logical," Mr Ansip said, adding that offering the position of prime minister to the chairman of the party that came in second in the 3 March election does not correspond with the expectations of Estonia's voters.

The interview, to be broadcast in full on ERR's Vikerraadio today Wednesday, was recorded ahead of Reform Party chairwoman Kaja Kallas' statement late on Tuesday that personally she would consider foregoing the position of prime minister to get negotiations with the Centre Party going.

Ms Kallas said in her own interview on Tuesday evening that though offering up the position of prime minister to the Centre Party chairman is "entirely illogical" considering the result of the election, she would personally consider such a step to avoid the current preliminary talks between Centre, the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) and Isamaa turning into a serious attempt at forming a government.

€500 tax-free income suddenly up for discussion

In terms of other hurdles in potential negotiations between Estonia's two large political parties, Mr Ansip seems to have changed tack. Where the Reform Party's demand for an overhaul of the income tax system towards €500 a month tax free for everyone almost had the character of an ultimatum following the 3 March general election, the party is now sounding increasingly conciliatory.

Given the state's currently "difficult" financial state, the Reform Party's campaign promise on this issue might end up too expensive to be put into practice, Mr Ansip argued.

"Looking at last year's deficit, there's really no money for any of the parties to implement such opulent campaign promises," he said. Mr Ansip has already entered into Estonian history as the enforcer of a strict dogma of fiscal austerity, and he hasn't changed his opinion: "To now get even more indebted would be a crime," he said, and coming generations would have to foot the bill.

This means that everyone will now have to tighten the belt, and that an expense as substantial as the Reform Party's €500 tax free income plan couldn't be written into the next coalition agreement.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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