Estonia to form its first National Populist goverment

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On Saturday, the 6th of April, the Estonian Conservative People’s Party secured a coalition partnership deal with two other political parties in a bid to take the country’s reins of power, a little over a month after the country’s general election.

The populist Estonian Conservative People’s Party, or EKRE, which has seen a surge in its popularity since its original formation in 2012, stated that it will form a three-way majority government with the conservative Fatherland party and the Center Party.

The 15-member Cabinet, in which each party is set to hold five ministerial portfolios, is to be led by the leader of the Center Party and ex-Prime Minister Juri Ratas, a man who has held Estonia’s leading government post since November of 2016.

The coalition would comprise a cozy majority of 57 seats of the 101 seat Riigikogu legislature (Estonian Parliament), but the President of Estonia must first formally task EKRE, the Center Party, and Fatherland to form a government.

The coalition arrangement was achieved following weeks of negotiations after the national election on March the 3rd which was won by the center-right Reform Party who garnered 28.9% of the votes, followed by the Center Party and EKRE with 23.1 percent and 17.8 percent, respectively.

This came just after an announcement made by Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid on Friday where she tasked Kaja Kallas – the leader of the Reform party – with forming a coalition government, in conformity with the head of state’s promise to the party who had secured the most votes.

However, the only option Kallas had would have been to form a minority Cabinet with the Social Democratic Party – something that Kallas said wasn’t an option.

The Reform Party’s Kallas, who tipped March’s election to become that country’s very first female prime minister, said that she would place a vote in the Estonian parliament on the 15th of April regarding the coalition deal that she’s currently attempting to form.

Just five parties passed the threshold needed to enter parliament.

EKRE’s historic rise in popularity has worried many in the Baltic state’s globalist establishment, particularly those who are members of the country’s considerable ethnic Russian minority which have commonly supported the Center Party.

EKRE’s hardline stance on immigration from the 3rd world mixed with its fiercely nationalistic rhetoric has stoked fears among the country’s globalist establishment figures of political developments similar to those of Italy, Hungary, and Poland.

Mart Helme, EKRE’s chairmen, who runs the party along with his son, vice chairman Martin Helme, expressed his happiness with the coalition agreement which ‘protects key promises given to our party and our voters.’

Mart Helme, a former diplomat, and historian who has led the party since 2013 stated, “We’re going to show a firm commitment to standing up for Estonia’s cause in the government and governing in an honest and efficient way.”

The father-son duo will have considerable clout in the Cabinet as Mart Helme is set to become the country’s interior minister while his son Martin will be in charge of the key finance minister position.

The effect of EKRE – whose party slogan is ‘For Estonia!’ and professes to defend the interests of ethnic Estonians – on the country’s politics was amplified even more last week when one of its lawmakers, Enn Polluaas, was elected as parliamentary speaker.

In a recent address given to Estonian lawmakers, President Kersti Kaljulaid, in an apparent reference to EKRE’s ascent to power, said that the country had reached a ‘crisis of values’ with a significant portion of Estonians feeling ‘something is broken in our society.’

Despite the President’s subtle swipe, perhaps it’s EKRE that are the ones who truly represent the values of the Estonian people and not Kaljulaid’s party.

Written by Mr. Anderson

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