Gallery: President marks new coalition dawn with 100 hate-free days call ({{commentsTotal}})

In her speech at Kadriorg Palace just before the new coalition government became fact, President Kersti Kaljulaid called for 100 hate-free days from the new administration, hoping that politics might continue in the same vein after that.

The 56-seat coalition had a controversial and difficult birth, between 3 March general election and Wednesday's official entry into office, prinicipally on the issue of the larger, 26-seat Centre Party allying itself with the 19-seat Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE).

EKRE members had made adverse statements concerning, amongst other things, the work of gynaecologists and other doctors in Estonia in performing abortions, and the status of journalists working at public broadcaster ERR who they said displayed bias, on top of various earlier remarks and actions made since the party's formation in 2012, including long-standing, documented involvement with far-right groups in Europe and the US by one of its new MPs, Ruuben Kaalep.

The dissent took one former Centre MP, Raimond Kaljulaid, with it; Mr Kaljulaid stepped down from the party the day after the XIV Riigikogu was convened earlier in the month, and is running is an independent in the May European elections.

President Kaljulaid (the half-sibling of Raimond) had appointed Reform Party leader Kaja Kallas prime minister on the grounds her party won the largest number of seats at the election, but with only one party in the Riigikogu, the 10-seat Social Democratic Party (SDE), not already signed up to the Centre/EKRE deal (Isamaa joined them, bringing 12 seats), the 44-seat Kallas-led alliance did not manage to get enough votes at the Riigikogu last week to take up office. The day after it was rejected, the Centre/EKRE/Isamaa lineup was voted into office by parliament.

The President thanked all three party chairs, Jüri Ratas (Centre, prime minister), Mart Helme (EKRE, interior minister), and Helir-Valdor Seeder (Isamaa, no ministerial portfolio) for their work, noting that with the recent warmer weather arriving in Estonia, the party leaders might do their part in reducing societal fears in their own words.

The president had already met with about half of the incoming cabinet, some of whom held office in the last administration (where Centre and Isamaa were in office with SDE), earlier in the week on a one-to-one basis, so her speech and subsequent signing-in of the new government was really a matter of rubber-stamping.

One final act sees all 15 government ministers (five from each party) swearing an oath of office, then the new administration really is a fact. This is set to happen on 29 April.

Between the 3 March election and today, the outgoing coalition had remained de facto the government, hence, for instance, Sven Mikser (SDE) retaining his foreign minister duties right down to this week.

Editor: Andrew Whyte



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