Hesitation coalition signs truce

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Photo: Martin Ilustrumm

At noon today, the long-awaited governmental document gets its signatures by Reform, Soc Dems and IRL. Whether for four years or four months – at least the month-long toil is over. For a moment.

Yesterday before noon, a hot debate was on in Soc Dems inner list. A war of words, rather. The hint reaching even the future partners ears: the Soc Dems rather desire to exit the alliance.

The debate, mainly pulled by the now-outside-Riigikogu Jaak Allik, sharp arrows were shot at the allegedly hapless negotiations delegation and the power treaty bad for the Soc Dems.

Major discontent was vented by Soc Dem regional heads or their deputies who absolutely failed to get the meaning of the treaty, to say nothing about the distribution of portfolios. Why is there no progressive income tax in the treaty? Why such a lousy deal? Maybe there are other deals behind that? Maybe, during the talks, they have reached agreement that the next President will be current Riigikogu speaker Eiki Nestor? No. Such talks and agreement have not happened. The deeper the anger of Soc Dems rank and file.

The flames flared the higher as, in the opinion of Soc Dems, Reform intentionally sat Jürgen Ligi on the education minister seat of their rising star Jevgeni Ossinovski.

Cooperation with Centre hoped

The hoped/expected union with Centre is on the mind of many a soc dem and gives them no rest. Even so, such a combination is out of the question for the upcoming two months. This is the time predicted for the recovery of Edgar Savisaar, hospitalised in Tartu, who might then have his say. Actually, the man does play his part in coalition talks as it is, for the whole last month: for the parties, their members distrustful towards each other and disillusioned with own elite, Centre could have provided a way out as a forceful negotiator and gambler. Currently, however, Kadri Simson as temporary replacement for Mr Savisaar dares not to take independent decisions and, therefore, gritting their teeth the trio enters a coalition.

IRL has acted smart. Having been battered at the elections and paying a heavy price, they have admitted defeat and reconciled to the situation. The leadership is soon to change; now they need to get into government.

Unlike IRL, the Soc Dems have not admitted dreary election results. The reality angers them. «No sparks. No zeal,» we hear regarding the trio.

Reform is no better. A whole month of muttering and mumbling about the text (original Reform wording is «jorutamine») has wearied them all. Looking in the mirror, many wryly observe: «The main three aims for Reform, of late, were to win the elections, ensure Taavi Rõivas as prime minister, and keep Keit Pentus-Rosimannus on foreign minister chair. That’s all. No other goals.»

After party council last night, IRL chairman and incoming justice minister Urmas Reinsalu said that the coalition talks were indeed long, but for them the end result was positive. «We do not need to sacrifice our principles. To the contrary, we are able to execute the stands stated in our programme and are ready to enter government for the sake of these political goals,» said Mr Reinsalu.

Speculations have abounded that the new government will not last long. It is assumed they might make it till the local elections – with luck. «Maybe, had this coalition been born with overmuch optimism, a so-called marriage for love, it would have proved much shorter time-wise than the rational union that was just born and in the which all partners have actually, without zeal and rationally, stated their understanding of Estonia’s future. Stated what we will do and what we will not do i.e. where we did not arrive at consensus,» said Mr Reinsalu.

Only partially satisfied

After Soc Dems council flashed green light to the treaty, they asked chairman Sven Mikser how well the social democratic interests and promises were represented in the agreement. To this, Mr Mikser replied that council members were of somewhat differing opinions.

He thinks the party has reasons to be satisfied with the part of the treaty touching upon coping of families with children and workers. «Perhaps, there could be more emphasis on regional policy, as well as rural life and agricultural policy. Definitely, in the next government, the ministers in these domains will have a difficult time finding extra resources to get all the needed things done,» he noted.

Regarding the ability to cooperate, Mr Mikser thought it important that all parties give their best to bring about and keep trust, and to stand united in executing all priorities of the coalition. «Obviously, if everyone starts to pull the blanket towards themselves or their ministries, the outcome will not be too good. If the government is able to do teamwork, and maybe not try to maximise every political point, there is a considerable probability that the government has longevity,» he said.