Thursday, March 22, 2007

Estonica: Tarts and Ministers

The coalition talks are off. It appears that PM Ansip could not live with giving IRL the Foreign Ministry, and for Laar this is non-negotiable.

According to Postimees, the Social Democrats are getting the Finance, Education and Population ministries, and are happy with it. The Greens have been offered the soon-to-be-created Administrative ministry - James Hacker sends his regards; but Team Strandberg is shooting for either the Economic Affairs ministry (a bit out of their league) or Environment (the obvious choice).

IRL has negotiated for the position of Speaker of the Riigikogu, plus five ministries, but Ansip has now decided that both Speaker and FM is a bit rich for what is still a minority party. He did offer them Interior (important), Defense (from whom? Ze Latvians?), Social Affairs and Agriculture. IRL countered with a demand for the preferred ministerial seats for its two top men - Laar as Foreign Minister and Jaak Aaviksoo, former rector of Tartu University, as Education Minister - plus the key Economics ministry, and for some reason Agriculture.

Ansip walked out.

The PM's big worry is that Laar is a much more popular personality and signifant statesman than Ansip himself. With a majority in parliament and a tremendous personal vote of confidence, Ansip is now scared of becoming what some people have referred to as the PM in Laar's government. IRL is not behaving like the junior partner in this coalition that they are. Over all this, the shadow of a Reform-Centrist coalition looms.

I can't help but admire Ansip for calling Laar's bluff. But I would also like to see Laar as FM.

Stay tuned.


Jens-Olaf said...

My view or better question is who as FM would make someone listen about Estonia and its interests, outside of Estonia, I mean. So, from Germany, who were the estonians FMs earlier? WE DON'T KNOW! Maybe Laar is the guy who has a voice. Nordic silence is the wrong way.

antyx said...

That's exactly the point. Laar has the connections, the recognition, the experience - he'd make a fine FM. The problem is that IRL is asking for more power than Ansip is willing to give them.


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