Official: President Kaljulaid tasks Ratas with forming government

President Kersti Kaljulaid digitally signing the order while on a visit to Portugal.
President Kersti Kaljulaid digitally signing the order while on a visit to Portugal. Source: Office of the President

President Kersti Kaljulaid, who is currently on a state visit to Portugal, digitally signed an order early on Tuesday evening tasking Centre Party chairman and acting Prime Minister Jüri Ratas with forming a government.

The Estonian head of state has met with the leaders of all parliamentary groups, and based on these consultations, she has decided to task Mr Ratas with forming a government, the Office of the President announced.

"Now it is Jüri Ratas' task to form a government which as a whole and each of whose members individually respects the spirit of our Constitution and treasures the values that are listed in our Constitution," Ms Kaljulaid said.

In her opening remarks at the inaugural sitting of the XIV Riigikogu on 4 April, Ms Kaljulaid stressed that paragraph 12 of the Constitution states that "Everyone is equal before the law. No one may be discriminated against on the basis of nationality, race, colour, sex, language, origin, religion, political or other views, property or social status, or on other grounds."

Mr Ratas will now have 14 days to address the Riigikogu regarding his grounds for the formation of a government and secure the support of the Riigikogu.

According to ERR's information, the Office of the Prime Minister and the Office of the President have taken into account the possibility of Mr Ratas addressing the Riigikogu and being put to a vote on Thursday, but it is possible that this may happen as soon as Wednesday.

No Riigikogu sittings are scheduled for next week. Mr Ratas' ministers will evidently give their oaths of office before the Riigikogu and his second government take office on 29 April.

Kallas attempt fails

Reform Party chairwoman Kaja Kallas, who was first tasked by Ms Kaljulaid with forming a government, failed to receive enough votes in the Riigikogu on Monday to move forward with doing so. Ms Kallas received 45 votes in favour and 53 votes against, with two abstentions.

The Reform Party commands 34 seats in the 101-seat Riigikogu, while the Social Democratic Party (SDE) holds another ten.

Of the parties to recently sign a coalition agreement, the Centre Party commands 25 seats in the Riigikogu, while the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) holds 19 and Isamaa another 12, making for a total of 56 seats.

At least 51 seats are needed for a majority.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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