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Estonia’s coalition collapses amid infighting

Update: November, 08/2016 - 10:45
The new elected chairman of the Centre Party, Juri Ratas gestures in Tallinn, on Monday. Estonia’s three-party coalition government has collapsed as two junior partners quit cooperation with pro-NATO Prime Minister Taavi Roivas amid infighting over his leadership. - AFP/VNA Photo
Viet Nam News

TALLINN - Estonia’s three-party coalition government collapsed on Monday as its two junior partners ended their co-operation with pro-NATO Prime Minister Taavi Roivas amid infighting over his leadership.

"For the Social Democrats SDE and conservative IRL party the co-operation with the Reform party in this government has finished," Heidi Ojamaa, SDE spokeswoman said.

In April 2015, Roivas’s 30-seat centre-right Reform party forged a coalition with the leftist Social Democrats and conservative IRL to command 59 seats in the 101-member parliament.

Estonia’s ERR public broadcaster reported that Social Democrats leader Jevgeni Ossinovski blamed disputes on economic, social, education and regional policy for triggering the break up with Roivas’s Reform.

Warning that Estonia was "moving towards a left-wing coalition and that is dangerous," Interior Minister Hanno Pevkur, the Reform Party deputy chairman, told Estonian public TV late on Monday that the party board would meet early on Tuesday to discuss Riovas’s resignation.

"The government has now collapsed, with the SDE and IRL both officially pursuing new coalition talks with the (opposition) Centre party as of tonight," Estonian political analyst Ahto Lobjakas said on Monday.

Commanding 27 seats, the Centre party is Estonia’s second largest political party and is popular among the small Baltic state’s sizeable ethnic Russian minority.

The party chose a new leader, 38-year-old Juri Ratas, at the weekend, raising calls for him to take over as prime minister.

’Opened the floodgates’

He replaced Edgar Savisaar, 66, who stepped down amid party infighting.

According to Lobjakas, "Ratas’s election as Centre’s chairman opened the floodgates" for it forming a government.

If the talks between the Social Democrats and conservative IRL and the Centre party are "successful, this would signal a huge shift domestically, as Reform hasn’t been out of government since 2001," he added.

Lobjakas however insisted that should Ratas become prime minister, he would "stick to current foreign policy", meaning Estonia would remain firmly rooted in NATO, the EU and the eurozone.

Deep reforms and years of painful austerity paved the way to Estonia’s 2011 eurozone entry. - AFP

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