Estonian PM regains ruling majority and warns of tough times ahead | The mighty 790 KFGO
By Janis Laizans
TALLINN (Reuters) – Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas’ new cabinet was sworn in on Monday, restoring political stability, but she warned of tough times ahead for the economy as energy costs soar. boom and inflation is raging as a result of the fallout from the war in Ukraine.
Estonia, a Baltic republic of 1.3 million that is expected to host an increase in NATO troops to counter possible threats from neighboring Russia, had been under a minority government since June 7, when Kallas severed ties with its junior coalition partner.
On July 8, Kallas announced a new three-party coalition made up of her liberal Reform Party, the conservative Isamaa and the centre-left Social Democrats to command 55 of the 101 seats in parliament, which voted last week to re-elect her. of Prime Minister.
“It’s going to be a very tough fall, a very tough winter, and the elections are going to be after that. So it is of course (a party) for all (opposition) populists,” she told Reuters in an interview before taking the oath on Monday.
“But there are no easy solutions, these are difficult times.”
The next election is scheduled for March 2023.
Estonia, along with the other Baltic states, Latvia and Estonia, all members of NATO and the European Union, stopped importing Russian gas in May following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which, according to the three countries, justifies the harshest possible European sanctions against Moscow.
To cushion the blow of the loss of Russian gas, Estonia is currently developing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal to secure gas supplies for non-Russian suppliers during the winter.
The Reform Party has seen a surge in popularity since the invasion of Russia to 34%, according to a Norstat poll, even as annual inflation soared to 22% in June, the highest in the EU.
The far-right opposition party EKRE had the second highest support with 21%.
“Inflation is of course very difficult to manage,” Kallas said. “We are trying to focus on helping people cope and not letting inflation rise any further. And this is a very difficult task, because the economy will be slower than it was before.
(Reporting by Janis Laizans in Tallinn Writing by Andrius Sytas in Vilnius; Editing by Mark Heinrich)