New Estonian Cabinet begins work

  • 2005-04-13
  • By The Baltic Times
TALLINN 'sPresident Arnold Ruutel appointed the country's new government on Tuesday, and the Cabinet of Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said one of its first tasks would be restoring the people's trust in politicians.

Addressing the new Cabinet, President Ruutel said he was pleased that the coalition agreement accentuated the Estonian people first and foremost.

"When I met with Mr. Ansip a dozen days ago, we agreed about valuing the Estonian people as an urgent and complex task," the president was quoted as saying by the presidential press service. "Now you have set as your programmatic objective to be more caring to children and the elderly, encourage the enterprising and support those who need help."

The government unites a right-wing force, the Reform Party, with two center-left factions, the Center Party and the People's Union. Despite criticism that their agreement represents an unlikely, the parties contain many experienced politicians who have worked with each other in past coalitions, both national and municipal. Still, overcoming the parties' varying platforms may prove to be Ansip's biggest challenge.

The head of state stressed that the new Cabinet had to restore people's trust and their belief in benign politics. "May the decisions of the government be consistent and balanced so that they strengthen the bond of generations and look to the future," Ruutel said. "While planning measures to support families, the business environment and nature protection, we must also solve today's problems and not lose sight of our long-range goals."

Parliament confirmed the government in a Tuesday vote. Fifty-three MPs supported the Cabinet, while 40 voted against. The legislature has 101 seats.

Before the vote, Ansip told MPs, "I'm standing here before you as a candidate head of government who sees his task in restoring working peace in the executive branch for the state and the nation to be able to move forward in their day-to-day work and development without a hitch."

According to the Reformist leader, his goal is to carry on valuable initiatives of the previous government and come up with new initiatives whose common denominator is a compassionate, objective social sphere.

Ansip dismissed doubts about the new governing alliance's compatibility and ability to cooperate. As he sees it, liberalism, which his Reform Party embodies, and the social aspect are mutually exclusive only for a limited imagination.