Former Reform Party chairman and prime minister Taavi Rõivas said on ERR's Otse uudistemajast program that he is not looking for ways to leave politics but admitted he does not have a plan for the future.
"Absolutely not true," Rõivas said when asked by host Indrek Kiisler whether he is headed for the realm of public relations and a position of a lobbyist with Peter Vesterbacka's Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel company.
"I have never given thought to what my next job will be. People don't believe me, but it's true. Why do you believe I shouldn't stay," Rõivas said when asked whether he plans to leave politics behind. "We need people to point out mistakes made by the government of the Centre Party and Conservative People's Party (EKRE). And there are plenty," Rõivas said.
The Reform Party MP said the Riigikogu has the strongest opposition it has seen in decades. "People who know what ministers do as they used to be ministers themselves, and who know to ask the right questions. Having new people in the Riigikogu, including as committee chairmen is not a problem. What is a problem is having dilettantes as ministers," Rõivas said. He praised the idea voiced in last week's Eesti Ekspress that future ministers should be subjected to hearings in the parliament, similarly to the process of how European commissioner candidates appear in front of the European Parliament. Rõivas believes several of today's ministers would not pass such a hearing.
Reform's goal to maintain fiscal balance
Asked about ideas or initiatives of the Reform Party as the opposition leader in the Riigikogu, Rõivas mentioned taxes and fiscal balance.
"A major topic we will be concentrating on is fiscal balance," Rõivas said, adding that both Jüri Ratas' previous and current governments have allowed a deficit of a billion euros to be created despite the economy living good times.
Rõivas also promised the Reform Party will continue to support switching to universal Estonian-language education and address what he described as tax chaos.
He said the coalition has treated the public to several decoys this fall, meaning topics that will not be given backing in the state budget. Rõivas gave the examples of Minister of the Interior Mart Helme's internal security reserve idea and Minister of Finance Martin Helme's plans for wider highways.
Rõivas did not agree with claims the Reform Party was left out of the coalition because of its arrogance. "I don't believe it possible to exclude someone over how they communicate. I don't think that was the reason," he said. "But one good thing about democracy is that no government is forever," he added.
Isamaa could leave after pension reform passed
Commenting on the low rating of junior coalition partner Isamaa, Rõivas said the party could return to its past style as a classical right-wing conservative party. "My suggestion to Isamaa is for them to go back to their roots. Isamaa's decline started in 2014 when they adopted paid poverty as their main topic," Rõivas said. He referred to it as a mistake already at the time as the topic was not the most important for the party's core voters. "It also remains illegible why Isamaa wants to dismantle existing things — pension system, uniform tax system," he said.
The Reform Party politician said Isamaa could consider leaving the current coalition once the Riigikogu passes the mandatory funded pension reform that was the party's core election promise.
Editor: Marcus Turovski