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  Estonia’s Prime Minister Steps Down Under a Cloud
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ContributorIndyGeorgia 
Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Jan 13, 2021 09:34am
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AuthorAndrew Higgins
News DateWednesday, January 13, 2021 01:10:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionMOSCOW — The prime minister of Estonia resigned on Wednesday, his coalition government of centrists and far-right populists engulfed by a corruption scandal over misuse of state loans intended for coronavirus pandemic relief.

The departure of the prime minister, Juri Ratas, signaled an unusual bout of political turbulence in a country that joined the European Union and also NATO in 2004, establishing itself as a bastion of pro-Western stability on Russia’s western border.

This orientation is highly unlikely to change as Mr. Ratas’s most likely successor, the leader of the opposition center-right Reform Party, Kaja Kallas, is a firm supporter of the American-led military alliance. Estonia’s president asked Ms. Kallas on Wednesday to form a new government, but it was unclear whether she could muster the necessary votes in Parliament.

The outgoing prime minister, Mr. Ratas, had headed the tiny Baltic nation’s government since 2016 as leader of the Center Party, whose strongest base of support has been a large ethnic Russian population that liked its sometimes left-leaning policies.

He resigned after reports that his party was among those under criminal investigation over loans by a state agency, KredEx, to a private property project in the port area in Tallinn, Estonia’s Baltic Sea capital. The money was supposed to go to companies hard hit by the pandemic.
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D:1RP ( 5218.4644 points)
Wed, January 13, 2021 06:10:46 PM UTC0:00
Parliamentary systems have had problems forming coalitions or maintaining stable governments lately. I'm not sure they are the better system now.

 
I:9626Bojicat ( 382.3727 points)
Wed, January 13, 2021 06:29:35 PM UTC0:00
Thanks IndyG, good point. However, as Reform is an opposition party not in the coalition presently constituted, it appears to be a going-through-the-drill approach or maybe a lark for the President to reach out to them, rather than attempt from within the present coalition, which still holds a majority.

One could suspect that the President sees Centre's position as untenable, or expects Centre to depart.

I don't see success for Reform's efforts here, in any case, and predict new elections.