Speaking on Vikerraadio's "Uudis+" on Monday, Reform Party chairwoman Kaja Kallas said that her party does not want to join a government led by current prime minister and Centre Party chaiman Jüri Ratas. Nonetheless, acknowledging the math behind a Riigikogu majority, she still hasn't ruled out cooperation with the Centre Party.
Asked how a motion of no confidence against Ratas can be reconciled with recent talk of a new government being formed by Reform and Centre, Kallas responded that cooperation with the latter still isn't ruled out, but would only be possible in a government not led by Ratas.
"I don't want to be in a government led by him in any way, shape or form, because Jüri Ratas has not coped as prime minister," she said. "If we're talking about the Centre Party and the Reform Party, naturally we understand the mathematics of the Riigikogu. And we're prepared to cooperate with them. But the ball is currently not in the Reform Party's but Ratas' and the Centre Party's court."
Kallas recalled a comment made by EKRE politician Monika Helme last Friday in which she said that the goal of the current government is the ruin of the Reform Party.
"Therefore this position is shared by both the Centre party and Isamaa," she said. "If the goal of the government is to hurt the Reform Party, there's no point in us pretending and trying to be gentle. We have to act as a strong opposition and take a different course."
The Reform chair added that the prime minister has demonstrated with his actions that he isn't interested in changing coalitions.
"How many opportunities has he had to say that the Centre Party has had it, and that this won't go any further?" she asked. "Let's take the insulting of the Singing Revolution, which was insulting to the Centre Party as a descendant of the Popular Front. It's clear that EKRE doesn't plan on changing, but Ratas intends to keep going with this coalition."
Nonetheless, Kallas believes that the current government won't survive until the next Riigikogu elections in 2023.
"There is so much tension programmed into this, even just in connection with local government elections," she said. "Or holding a referendum on the matter of men and women — how can the Centre Party agree with this? They'll cement their negative election results in local government elections. But until they've received feedback from voters that support for them has fallen quite low, there's no reason to talk about this coalition changing."
Kallas admitted that while the Reform Party currently already has enough signatures to initiate a no-confidence vote against Ratas, 51 MPs are needed to convene an extraordinary sitting of the Riigikogu, and it's possible that the Centre-EKRE-Isamaa coalition won't show up, as a result of which no extraordinary sitting can occur.
"It goes to show that they hide out in the bushes and don't dare discuss this issue," she said. "But Enn Eesmaa (Centre) has hinted that if a secret ballot were held, then a number of people from the coalition might vote in favor. But if the coalition doesn't show up and the sitting is cancelled, then we can submit the no-confidence motion at a regular sitting [beginning next month]."
Editor: Aili Vahtla