The party’s head of communications: Pre-planned “political-technological” solution
Karl Sander Kase, Isamaa Head of Communications – Isamaa is currently in coalition negotiations with Reform – said Delphi (link in Estonian) that the developments: Kersna handed in her resignation on Thursday and Kallas refused to accept it the next day (the prime minister was still at the Madrid summit when Kersna resigned – anm is convenient “political-technological” solution now found.
This raises several questions, Kase added — namely, how serious is Kersna, who also holds the post of culture minister, about her resignation, given that she faces criminal investigations, what does this mean in terms of the future responsibility of the Minister means and the fact that this state Foreign Minister Taimar Peterkop said that the government can continue to work without the acting minister.
Another question, Kase said, is how long it is viable for an already minority government to continue with each minister holding two portfolios – necessitated by the dismissal of center ministers just over a month ago – adding, that each time the limits of what can be toasted are pushed, the more scope there is for further toasting.
Lawyer: The government is constitutionally incompetent
Allar Jõks, a former chancellor of justice and now a lawyer, said Kersna’s departure from office would mean the government would be constitutionally incapacitated – Section 16(2) of the Constitution requires at least half the members of an elected government to be in office – since half the center ministers are gone, Kersna’s departure from office would upset this balance (there were seven reform ministers and seven center ministers, plus Kallas as prime minister, when this coalition took office in January 2021 – ed.).
Jõks also called this an extension of legality, while saying that a month with only half the ministers in office (the Center Party ministers were sacked on June 3 – ed.) is a record since the restoration of the Independence in 1991 was while, apart from the heatwave, there was no clear and present danger that would necessitate it, he said.
The leader of the opposition party: Deep State in action
The leader of the opposition Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE), Martin Helme, said that what happened was an example of the deep state in action, with State Secretary Peterkop counting only the existing seven ministers of the Reform Party as the current government (cf above) and demanded a vote of no confidence from Isamaa and the Social Democrats (SDE) – the two parties are currently in coalition negotiations with reform.
An agreement between Kallas and Kersna was already reached at the stage of sourcing the rapid Covid tests last October – a deal Kersna is being investigated against – with Kallas getting the sourcing “right” at the time. in and of itself, even if the alleged sums of the irregularities amount to millions of euros, said Helme.
The businessman and former minister: Drama replaces statecraft
Former IT and Foreign Trade Minister Kaimar Karu has expressed concern that a minister is allegedly taking responsibility for something denied by the PM, stating that the PM and government remain within the bounds of the law.
The newspaper editor-in-chief: Situation “absurd”
Martin Šmutov, editor-in-chief of the evening newspaper Õhtuleht, called the development of leaving Kersna in office “absurd”, noting that half of the government (in the sense of ministerial posts – as mentioned, the seven reform ministers 14 portfolios between them -ed.) should be replaced anyway after a coalition agreement has been concluded.
The local party leader: Kersna is a good minister, reform lacks a mandate to remain in office alone
Antti Leigri, leader of the Center Party on the island of Hiiumaa, praised Kersna, whom he called the best minister of reform, for keeping schools running in the fall after distance learning in the earlier stages of the pandemic, but reiterated his concerns about one Government of seven ministers remains in office for the second month, stating that Reform has no mandate to run Estonia alone and that it would harm life on Hiiumaa and the rest of the country.
The original piece by Delfi (in Estonian) is here.
Kersna tendered her resignation on Thursday after criminal proceedings were launched against her in relation to one of three Covid rapid test procurements that had been under scrutiny since May, when a misdemeanor proceeding was first launched.
While Kersna survived a no-confidence vote in the Riigikogu last month, she tendered her resignation on Friday after the prime minister returned from the NATO summit in Madrid.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said on Friday she would not forward Kersna’s letter of resignation to Alar Karis – as head of state it would be the next formal step in the event of a minister resigning – until coalition negotiations are complete.
These negotiations are entering their fourth week and there is little sign of an agreement being reached.