Radio show: Who'd be an EKRE minister?

Journalists have been scratching their heads over how best to replace Kert Kingo, formerly foreign trade and IT minister.
Journalists have been scratching their heads over how best to replace Kert Kingo, formerly foreign trade and IT minister. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Radio broadcast Rahva teenrid on ERR's Vikerraadio looked at the recent resignation of foreign trade and IT minister Kert Kingo (EKRE), and possible replacements, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.

Neeme Korv of daily Äripäev and Postimees journalist Evelyn Kaldoja joined host Taavi Eilat to look at what was on the table going forward.

One suggestion was to eliminate the role altogether, and to remove a minister from the roster of the other two coalition parties, Centre and Isamaa, in order to get a balanced proportion.

Neeme Korv suggested that the role of the minister for population (currently Riina Solman of Isamaa-ed.) and minister for public administration (a post which no longer exists but was held by current regional affairs minister Jaak Aab (Centre)-ed.).

Host Taavi Eilat noted that getting a new minister would be quite difficult, though ensuring the person actually wanted the role might be an idea.

Korv noted the contrast between Alexander Stubb, former Finnish prime minister who did a lot to promote foreign trade with Finland by developing a personal network, and Kingo, who from the get go said that networking was one of the things she didn't want to do.

A minister without portfolio would make sense if a party has a clear vision on an issue, but in EKRE's case they are broadly based on a protest vote with only negatives accentuated instead of positives.

At the same time, Eilat noted the seeming reformist nature of the role, with Korv adding that the coalition agreement made between Centre, EKRE and Isamaa in April included a call for the depoliticixation of officials and a stress on the importance of professionalism.

Offering EKRE a minister without portfolio with a view to attracting a specialist would run into the problem of who would actually want to become an EKRE minister who wasn't from the party – for instance former e-residency chief Taavi Kotka's name was touted – would inevitably run into questions about EKRE policies and actions if he were to take such a role, the panel felt.

Kaldoja added that such a populist party, which has some commonality with EKRE on certain issues and which has specialist ministers in office, already exists in Lithuania.

The original broadcast (in Estonian) is here.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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