Reform Party Leader Tasked to Form Estonia’s New Government

Estonia’s president on Thursday tasked the leader of the main opposition party to form a new government, a day after Prime Minister Juri Ratas and his Cabinet stepped down in the wake of a corruption scandal in Ratas’ ruling Center Party, the Associated Press reported. Kaja Kallas, chairwoman of the center-right Reform Party that emerged as the winner of the 2019 general election, will have 14 days to put together a new Cabinet, President Kersti Kaljulaid said. The Baltic country’s head of state urged Kallas to move rapidly as the new government needs to immediately start tackling a worsening COVID-19 situation and the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic. “Both the Estonian people and I are expecting that Estonia will quickly have an active and competent government, which focuses on handling the pandemic and the economic crisis and on making our lives better,” Kaljulaid said in a statement after meeting with Kallas. Ratas and his Cabinet resigned Wednesday over a scandal involving a key official at his Center Party suspected of accepting a private donation for the party in exchange for a political favor on a real estate development at the harbor district of the capital, Tallinn. After the announcement by Ratas, who had led a three-party coalition with his left-leaning Center Party, the nationalist EKRE party and the conservative Fatherland party since April 2019, parties immediately started informal talks on cobbling together a new government. Read more.