Reform Party leader tasked to form Estonia’s new government


HELSINKI (AP) – The Estonian president on Thursday tasked the leader of the main opposition party with forming a new government in the Baltic country, in the wake of the resignation of Prime Minister Juri Ratas and his cabinet over a scandal of corruption in the judgment of Ratas Feast of the center.

Kaja Kallas, the chair of the center-right Reform Party who emerged as the winner of the 2019 general election, will have 14 days to form a new government, President Kersti Kaljulaid has said.

The Estonian head of state urged Kallas to act quickly as the new government must immediately begin to tackle the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country and the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.

“The Estonian people and I expect Estonia to quickly have an active and competent government, which is focused on dealing with the pandemic and the economic crisis and on improving our lives,” Kaljulaid said in a statement after meeting Kallas.

Ratas and his cabinet resigned Wednesday over a corruption scandal involving a key Center Party official suspected of accepting a private donation for the party in exchange for a political favor on a real estate development in the port district from the capital, Tallinn.

Following the announcement by Ratas, who had led a tripartite coalition with his Center Party, the nationalist EKRE party and the conservative Fatherland party since April 2019, the parties immediately began informal talks on the creation of a new government.

On Thursday, the Reform Party announced that it would begin formal government formation talks with the Center Party. Together, the two parties would gather a majority in the 101-seat Riigikogu legislature, or in parliament.

According to Estonian public broadcaster ERR, a new cabinet could be sworn in on January 25 with Kaja Kallas as prime minister.

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Source: Twitter AP

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