Taavi Rõivas: Fear keeping Isamaa in government

MP and former Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas (Reform).
MP and former Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas (Reform). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

In an interview with Raadio 2 on Thursday, former Prime Minister and Reform Party candidate for MEP Taavi Rõivas said that while the Centre Party's motive for being in the new tripartite coalition is the position of prime minister and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) simply has no other mathematical means of being in the government, then in Isamaa's case it is fear of losing voters that is keeping it in the new government.

"Isamaa is being held there by the fear that if EKRE is in the coalition and they are in the opposition, then EKRE will steal even more of their popularity," Mr Rõivas said. "I see a lot of inconsistency in this, because I believe that if EKRE and Isamaa are in the government together, then Isamaa will lose support to EKRE in a matter of days, and their biggest fear will be realised much sooner."

The former prime minister also believed that Centre Party chairman Jüri Ratas took an unjustifiably big risk in inviting EKRE to join the government.

He refused to call the Reform Party remaining in the opposition a letdown, however.

"The government that was just cobbled together definitely cannot last for four years, as the only thing tying it together is the allocation of offices," he said. "I don't see a strong vision for Estonia here, and as a result I don't see that the government can be successful for long either. I agree with [Reform chairwoman] Kaja Kallas, who said that one day we will form a government regardless."

According to Mr Rõivas, it is unthinkable that Reform would cooperate with EKRE. "The issue is that many of EKRE's foreign policy positions are fundamentally dangerous to Estonia," he cited as problematic. "In addition, I don't like at all the fact that when I have recently attended conferences abroad, both in the corridors as well as even directly from the public in Kiev there have been comments saying look at what kind of party has risen to power [in Estonia]. If our reputation worsens abroad, investments here will decrease as well."

When host Andrus Karnau reminded Mr Rõivas of the fact that he had to resign as vice-president of the Riigikogu following the Malaysia scandal and asked whether the latter learned anything from that as well, the former prime minister responded that it is a weak politician that has no enemies at all.

"I learned that I wouldn't wish a circus like that on even my worst enemies," Mr Rõivas said. "I saw how many people, including political competitors, felt schadenfreude. So much more mud was slung at the time than there was any actual substance."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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