TALLINN - Prominent Estonian political scientist Rhine Toomla has said that there could be a government crisis this summer as the economic situation continues to decline.
"A critical time should come sometime by summer, and elections will [make it even worse]," Toomla said in an interview with Kuku radio.
The political scientist said the government had been near collapse several months ago, when there were fears that the government would not be able to survive negotiations over budget amendments.
He said that it was still impossible for the government to come to complete agreement on the budget, and that with elections on the horizon coalition partners will again become competitors and harsh opposition is inevitable.
The government is likely to ride out its term in order to keep stability, Toomla said. He said early elections would only be used as a last resort and that in the present situation a new round of elections would not significantly change the political landscape anyway.
He said that in the modern Estonian political environment, people do not have any tools with which to influence the work of lawmakers.
Peaceful means of exerting pressure on the politicians, through means such as letters of protest or signature campaigns, have been shown to have little impact on the attitudes of those in power 's that members of parliament do not appreciate these sorts of actions and refuse to change their policies based on popular action.
The political scientist said a possible solution to the problem would be to promote a strengthening of the control the public had over parliament activity.
Though the pending government crisis could largely be blamed on economic issues, as is evidenced by the previous near-crisis over the budget, many businessmen in the country are happy with how the government has handled itself.
The owner of Estonian investment company KC Grupp, Margus Reinsalu, praised the recent response by Estonia to the global economic crisis.The Estonian parliament quickly transferred an additional negative budget this year to address to worsening crisis.
The businessman said that the immediate actions of the government should be recognized and applauded.
However, Reinsalu added that flexibility has essential value in the existing economic picture 's and the main competitive advantage in the timely acceptance of key economic decisions.
He also said that in a democratic country the government is always criticized, but that in this time of crisis the Estonian government has successfully been able to make decisions that cross party lines.