On the 23rd of February, Estonian Prime Minister, Andrus Ansip (Reform Party), announced that he will submit a resignation to the President on the 4th of March.
Two years ago Ansip said that he was not going to run for the PM again in the next elections in spring 2015. He has been on that position already since 2005.
On the 21st of February, the Board of the Reform Party decided to nominate Siim Kallas (currently working as a Commissioner at the European Commission) as a PM candidate, if Ansip would resign. In principle, it is intended castling between Kallas and Ansip – Ansip would replace Kallas in the European Commission. Kallas has said that the replacement has been discussed with Barroso, as well. Kallas has repeatedly notified that he would like to come back and continue his career in Estonia. He would be the first Commissioner, who would continue on the PM position immediately after resignation.
Kallas has introduced some of his main principles to the public already:
1. To focus economic policy towards raising incomes of Estonian population and reduce the difference between the Nordic partners.
2. Estonia should get by without loans and debts.
3. Main principles of the security policy will not change; Estonia will continue to pay 2% in national defence.
4. He supports the current principles of the reform of municipalities, ie. no forced mergers.
The first principle sounds quite populist as wage growth is already very high in Estonia. Another issue is how to raise competitiveness and based on that increase incomes. The reform of the municipalities has delayed for a too long time and its success is far from satisfactory.
Kallas intends to compose a government that meets the best to the expectations of the Estonian society. At the same time, both Reform Party and the current coalition are less popular than opposition parties, according the recent poll. This is one of the reasons, why Ansip has decided to give way to somebody else. Renewal of the government was long-awaited as the current one has been blamed in fatigue in implementing reforms in Estonia. At the same time, several accusations haven’t been enough explicit. Kallas has said that his main objective is to steer Reform Party to victory during the next parliamentary elections in 2015.
However, only President can nominate the candidate of PM in Estonia, while parliament (Riigikogu) provides the mandate to the PM to form the government. Estonia will get the new government by the first part of April (11 April), at the latest. It is expected that Reform Party will continue together with the same coalition with Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica (having together 56 out of 101 seats in Riigikogu), but some ministers will be replaced. At the same time, it cannot be excluded that Social Democratic Party will be invited to the coalition as well in order to get additional support votes. Inviting social democrats to the coalition could mean the violation of coalition agreement.
In summary, we do not expect the change of the main principles of the economic policy between the next elections in 2015.
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