November 08, 2016
Estonia's government falls
The Estonian governing coalition of the right-liberal Reform party, Social Democrats, and conservative Pro Patria and Res Publica, has broken down. The opposition, left-liberal Centre party, centre-right Free party, and right-wing Conservative People's party, which together have the minimum necessary 41 seats out of 101 in the national parliament the Riigikogu, have introduced a motion of no-confidence in PM Taavi Röivas. The motion of no confidence will be voted tomorrow, and is expected to succeed. What is less clear is what kind of government coalition will emerge, as the new chairman of the Centre Party, Jüri Ratas, said they had been contacted by each of the three parties in the governing coalition. The immediate cause of the government crisis is a controversy over the appointment of MPs to the supervisory boards of state-owned companies. Under pressure from the junior coalition parties, Reform party appointees resigned on Monday, as PM Röivas started exploring an alternative coalition with the new Centre Party leadership. This led to the junior coalition parties declaring the coalition broken. Should the Reform party end up in opposition this would end an 11-year run in government. One factor to watch is the relations that a new government would have with the Russian minority in Estonia. The Centre party is overwhelmingly popular among ethnic non-Estonians, which make up 30% of the population.