Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas To Resign, Spokeswoman Says

Cheryl Sanders
January 14, 2021

In December 2019, Estonia apologised to Finland after one of them mocked its new prime minister - the world's youngest-serving government leader - as a "sales girl" and questioned her ability to run the country. - Ratas resigned but, denied any wrongdoing after a corruption probe was opened into his ruling Center Party and its links with an Estonian businessman.

Former Estonian prime minister Juri Ratas speaks in parliament after resigning, in Tallinn, on January 13, 2021.

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid said she would propose that Kaja Kallas, chairwoman of the main opposition, centre-right Reform Party, which emerged as the victor of the 2019 general election, to form the new Cabinet. Suspects include the party secretary general, an adviser to the finance minister and a real estate developer who has often donated to the party - which is also under suspicion as a legal entity.

Juri Ratas said he hoped his resignation would help "shed light on all the circumstances and reach clarity" but insisted that he had not made "any malicious or knowingly wrong decisions".

Prosecutors allege the development was promised permission to build a road on city property, in exchange for a donation of up to 1 million euros to the party ahead of municipal elections, BNS reported.

Political analyst Rein Toomla from the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies said it was "quite possible" that Ratas would stay on as a minister in a Kallas cabinet.

Ratas said it is "highly unlikely" that the EKRE, which is anti-European Union, will continue in the government.

The resignation could also scupper plans for a controversial referendum on same-sex marriage that the coalition had been planning to hold this spring.

According to constitution, the candidate for prime minister must, within 14 days after being tasked with forming a new government, present the bases for the formation of the future government to the Parliament, after which the MPs must decide, without debate and by a public vote, whether to authorize the candidate for prime minister to form a government.

Instead, the Centre Party forged a coalition with EKRE and the right-wing Isamaa conservatives.

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