Chair says Reform open to coalition talks with all parties except EKRE

  • 2019-03-13
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Chair of Estonia's Reform Party Kaja Kallas said that the party is open to starting coalition talks with all parties, but ruled out including the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) in the government.

"We are open to all parties," Kallas told reporters on Wednesday. "The proposal for cooperation has been tabled," she said, adding that regrettably, the Reform Party's options are limited.

"An agreement is always a balance of the parties' interests. We are open to doing that," Kallas said.

Kallas thanked the Social Democratic Party (SDE), which responded to the Reform Party's invitation to start negotiations, but added that forming a minority government with SDE has not been discussed as an option.

The leader of the Reform Party said that representatives of the party have been in contact over the phone with the other parties.

"We will speak with everyone with whom it has proven possible to speak with," Kallas said.

"Our next steps will be communicating with the members of the Center Party and Isamaa to avoid this coalition becoming a reality," Kallas said, adding that she hopes that the two parliamentary parties, Center and Isamaa, include at least seven members who do not support a coalition between Center, EKRE and Isamaa.

"We absolutely exclude the [possibility] of including EKRE in the government," Kallas said.

Kallas opined that the Center Party's refusal to form a coalition with the Reform Party is due to the chairman of Center, Juri Ratas, wishing to continue as prime minister.

"Our offer [to the Center Party] was very clear -- a partnership on an equal footing," Kallas said. "The only way this offer could get any better would be if we offered [Ratas] the prime minister's seat," she added.