Formation of Estonian government following parliamentary election in March 2019

Author Details
Author (Corporate)
Publication Date 2019
Content Type

Summary:

Reports and analyses of the process of government formation in Estonia, following an inconclusive legislative election on 3 March 2019 from which none of the competing political parties managed to acquire a parliamentary majority.

Further information:

The incumbent Centre party came second in the election (26 seats), runner-up to the Reform party (32 seats). The two parties would enjoy a parliamentary majority together, or otherwise by any of them teaming up with two other parties. The two leading forces engaged in talks following the election but later discussions collapsed over the rejection of the Centre party of a proposed arrangement put forward by the Reform party. Alternatively, the Centre party launched talks with right-wing Isamaa and EKRE for an alternative formula. The inclusion of the latter party - the third most voted party but seen by many as standing within right-wing extremism - was subject to criticism by political stakeholders in the country.

On 5 April, the Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid formally asked the leader of the winning party to form government. Reform party's Kaja Kallas launched talks with the Social Democrats (SDE) to form a coalition but faced reduced chances of gathering a parliamentary majority. On 8 April, a coalition agreement between the Centre party, Isamaa and EKRE was signed. This formula would theoretically kick in should the Reform party be unable to find a coalition cabinet with a majority in Parliament. The Reform party and the SDE reached an agreement on principles guiding a coalition cabinet on 13 April.

Following the rejection by Parliament of the proposed Reform-SDE coalition on 15 April, the Head of State formally asked the leader of the Centre party to form government. The coalition agreement previously signed with Isamaa and EKRE became effective and the proposed coalition government was endorsed by Parliament on 17 April. The cabinet was formally accepted by Ms Kaljulaid on 24 April.

Related Link(s)
Commentary and Analysis
Deutsche Welle, 13/03/2019: Far-right party deputy: 'We are the mainstream in Estonia' https://p.dw.com/p/3ExIj
Euro|topics, March 2019: Estonia's PM invites far right for talks https://www.eurotopics.net/en/216514/
ERR News, 14/03/2019: Estonia not about to join Poland, Hungary https://news.err.ee/919833/opinion-estonia-not-about-to-join-poland-hungary
ECFR: Commentary, 21/03/2019: Estonia’s cold conservative spring https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_estonias_cold_conservative_spring
Euro|topics, April 2019: Estonia: coalition with far right agreed https://www.eurotopics.net/en/218175/

News
Bloomberg, 11/03/2019: Shock Move Gives Populists a Chance at Government in Estonia https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-11/estonian-election-runner-up-makes-shock-talks-offer-to-populists
Reuters, 11/03/2019: Estonian PM invites far-right to join cabinet https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN1QS287
ERR News, 12/03/2019: EKRE and Isamaa agree to Centre talks, SDE open to Reform cooperation https://news.err.ee/918947/ekre-and-isamaa-agree-to-centre-talks-sde-open-to-reform-cooperation
Postimees, 12/03/2019: Center opens door to EKRE https://news.postimees.ee/6543530/center-opens-door-to-ekre
The Guardian, 13/03/2019: Estonian leader urged to break off coalition talks with far right https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/13/ally-of-estonia-premier-juri-ratas-urges-him-not-to-form-coalition-with-far-right-guy-verhofstadt
France24, 12/03/2019: Estonia's outgoing PM Ratas courts far right in power bid https://www.france24.com/en/20190312-estonias-outgoing-pm-ratas-courts-far-right-power-bid
ERR News, 14/03/2019: Guy Verhofstadt implores Jüri Ratas to call off EKRE talks https://news.err.ee/919427/guy-verhofstadt-implores-juri-ratas-to-call-off-ekre-talks
ERR News, 14/03/2019: Reform leader open to equal terms coalition talks with Centre https://news.err.ee/919420/reform-leader-open-to-equal-terms-coalition-talks-with-centre
Postimees, 07/03/2019: Center to decide over launching coalition talks with Reform on Friday https://news.postimees.ee/6539432/center-to-decide-over-launching-coalition-talks-with-reform-on-friday
France24, 03/04/2019: Estonian president to task Kallas with forming new government https://www.france24.com/en/20190403-estonian-president-task-kallas-with-forming-new-government
ERR News, 05/04/2019: Reform chairwoman Kaja Kallas given task to form next government https://news.err.ee/927161/reform-chairwoman-kaja-kallas-given-task-to-form-next-government
Reuters, 05/04/2019: Estonia election winner downplays chance of becoming prime minister https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKCN1RH0PF
Deutsche Welle, 07/04/2019: Estonia: Far right set to enter government for first time https://p.dw.com/p/3GPfj
ERR News, 08/04/2019: Centre, EKRE, Isamaa coalition deal signed into being https://news.err.ee/927689/gallery-centre-ekre-isamaa-coalition-deal-signed-into-being
Bloomberg, 08/04/2019: Euroskeptic Nationalists Set to Enter Government in Estonia https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-08/euroskeptic-nationalists-edge-closer-to-government-in-estonia
ERR News, 08/04/2019: Proposed coalition nearly all-male, chock full of Eurosceptics, say rivals https://news.err.ee/928120/proposed-coalition-nearly-all-male-chock-full-of-eurosceptics-say-rivals
Postimees, 08/04/2019: Chairs of Center Party, EKRE, Isamaa sign coalition deal https://news.postimees.ee/6564939/chairs-of-center-party-ekre-isamaa-sign-coalition-deal
ERR News, 09/04/2019: Reform, SDE begin talks to seek common ground https://news.err.ee/928366/reform-sde-begin-talks-to-seek-common-ground
France24, 15/04/2019: Estonia liberals fail to form government after hung polls https://www.france24.com/en/20190415-estonia-liberals-fail-form-government-after-hung-polls
ERR News, 17/04/2019: Riigikogu backs Centre-EKRE-Isamaa coalition, Ratas to remain PM https://news.err.ee/930915/riigikogu-backs-centre-ekre-isamaa-coalition-ratas-to-remain-pm
Bloomberg, 23/04/2019: Hard-Line Nationalists Affirmed as Part of Estonia’s Cabinet https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-23/hard-line-nationalists-approved-as-part-of-estonia-s-new-cabinet

Official
Estonian Presidency: Press Release, 16/04/2019: President Kaljulaid named Jüri Ratas to act as candidate for the position of Prime Minister https://president.ee/en/meedia/press-releases/15129-president-kaljulaid-named-jueri-ratas-to-act-as-candidate-for-the-position-of-prime-minister/index.html
European Council: Press Release, 17/04/2019: Letter of congratulations from President Donald Tusk to Jüri Ratas on his re-appointment as Prime Minister of Estonia https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/04/17/letter-of-congratulations-from-president-donald-tusk-to-juri-ratas-on-his-re-appointment-as-prime-minister-of-estonia/

Subject Categories
Subject Tags
Countries / Regions