February 4, 2023

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Estonian coalition collapses after tension over ‘core values’ escalates

2 min read

Estonia’s governing coalition collapsed after the Baltic country’s prime minister accused her coalition partners of working against the nation’s values and failing to protect its independence in the aftermath of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

At the request of Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, the president, Alar Karis, on Friday dismissed all seven ministers from the Centre party, which used to have formal ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party.

“The security situation in Europe does not give me any opportunity to continue co-operating with the Centre party, which is unable to put Estonia’s interests above those of the party,” said Kallas, adding that Centre was “actively working against Estonia’s core values”.

She will now try to form a new coalition with two smaller parties, but if she fails Jüri Ratas, Centre’s leader and former prime minister, will have the opportunity to try to form his own alternative government. “Estonia quickly needs an operational coalition and government, President Karis said on Friday.

The extraordinary collapse of Estonia’s coalition comes as improving security for the three Baltic countries becomes a priority for Nato ahead of a crucial summit of the military alliance at the end of this month in Madrid.

Kallas has become one of the most vocal western figures in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, arguing that Europe and the US must do more to defeat Moscow both militarily and through sanctions. Estonia has given more military support to Ukraine per capita than any other country.

The immediate cause of Kallas’s anger was Centre’s opposition, alongside the far-right populists of Ekre, to a government pre-school education bill. But some believe there are other, underlying reasons for the long-running tensions between Kallas’s liberal Reform party and Centre.

“Many Estonians, including myself, fear that political players sharing the Kremlin’s interests…

2022-06-04 09:42:30

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