TALLINN - Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, who on April 5 received the powers from the Riigikogu to form the next Estonian government, introduced the ministerial candidates to President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, reports Postimees Online. President Ilves wished the government good cooperation and strength to solve the tasks Estonia faces. “I want to hope that Estonia is moving towards a European political culture in a good sense. It decisively depends on you and the Riigikogu members supporting you,” he said.
Ilves said that “good political culture” means that different opinions are also noticed and taken into account. Ilves reiterated that nearly a half of voters preferred different aims and ways to achieve them on election day. Thus, mature dialogue between the coalition and opposition is especially important. The president also called for listening to the positions of non-governmental organizations, professional unions and non-political experts more to achieve a state of discussing democracy.
The 101 members of the new Estonian Riigikogu gave an oath of office the previous day. At the opening session of the new parliament, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves held an inaugural speech. Ilves listed some of the most important aims that the new MPs should think about when planning their activities. “Is life equally worth living everywhere in Estonia? Do all our talents blossom? Does the education that our universities offer satisfy our smartest young people? Do our basic schools, vocational schools and high schools prepare young people who can cope and can find jobs in the economy of the 21st century? Will the best ideas become decisions advancing common interests? Are the constitutional rights of our citizens irrefutably protected always and everywhere? Are we all, irrespective of mother tongue and culture, happy here, in Estonia?” the president asked. While the answer is ‘no,’ or hesitant, we should be worried about a shortage of aims, Ilves said.
He reminded the MPs of their role as law-makers, stressing that they have to think about how any new law or provision affects society. Also, laws that have turned out to be failures should be revised, if need be. Then all the 101 new MPs gave their oath of office and Prime Minister Ansip announced the resignation of the previous government.
The new government includes Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, Education and Science Minister Jaak Aaviksoo, Justice Minister Kristen Michal, Defense Minister Mart Laar, Environment Minister Keit Pentus, Culture Minister Rein Lang, Economy and Communications Minister Juhan Parts, Agriculture Minister Helir-Valdor Seeder, Finance Minister Jurgen Ligi, Regional Affairs Minister Siim Valmar Kiisler, Interior Minister Ken-Marti Vaher, Social Minister Hanno Pevkur and Foreign Minister Urmas Paet.
Ilves had a meeting on April 4 with Ansip, whose Reform Party won the Riigikogu elections, where he signed the decision to appoint Ansip the prime ministerial candidate and obliged him to form the next government. President Ilves and Ansip talked about the principles of forming the new government.
The Estonian Riigikogu then on April 5 gave, with 55 votes out of 101, Ansip powers to form the next Estonian government. Forty-four Center Party and Social Democrats MPs voted against him.
Reform Party chairman Ansip praised the good cooperation with coalition partner Pro Patria and Res Publica Union. Ansip spoke at length on social education and foreign policies. He promised to increase the social security of families with children, increase pensions and support families which need it more and which have more children.
Ansip said that Estonia is not a transition state anymore but it is not a boring Nordic state either. He said that Estonia could be a fast-developing dynamic Nordic state that will never be completed and would always develop further.