Experts: Kallas’ job is to reconcile Reform Party with businesses, intellectuals

17.02.2014, 10:30

Political observers believe that the planned switch between Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and European Commissioner Siim Kallas is nothing but a clever scheme to restore Reform Party’s image among the intellectuals and the business community, reported ERR.

The big news from last week that the former and current leader of the Reform Party plan to switch jobs makes one wonder whether everything is like it looks.

So, why is the Reform Party’s founder, ex-PM and European Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas asked to return to Estonia ahead of his term and why has Europe’s longest-serving Prime Minister Andrus Ansip ready to give up party chairman before the next general elections?

Tõnis Saarts who teaches politology in Tallinn University noted that one possible reason for the planned switch that the party is trying to improve its image and to reconcile the party with certain groups that it has angered, including intellectuals and the business community.

Intellectuals still feel insulted by the way they were treated by Reform Party’s Minister of Culture Rein Lang and how he tried to steamroll changes in the cultural newspaper Sirp.

As for the business community, they are resenting arrogance of Finance Minister Jürgen Ligi who, among others, was recently voted the Taxpayers’ Enemy by the Taxpayer Association.

Ligi has recently been attempting to force through higher taxation of businesses including the VAT deduction of company cars.

One of the problems is that Ligi does not believe in debate and does not discuss planned tax changes with the business community.

Saarts says that it is the party’s concern about the general elections that has made it act.

If Kallas were to become the next head of government, it could help to restore the confidence of the business community

According to Saarts, the fact that the party is not offering the job to Kallas shows that it has actually failed to bring up strong young politicians who could take over from the party’s leaders.

The biggest problem with today’s politicians is that they are not charismatic, say politologists.

In spite of all his baggage, Kallas is a natural charismatic leader which makes him the best choice for the party chairmanship.

According to Agu Uudelepp who teaches communication in EBS says that there are two unanswered questions.

First, is the Reform Party telling its long-time chairman and PM that Ansip has become a liability and must make room to make sure that the party can win the general elections in 2015.

Or is the reason that the party’s chairman and Prime Minister lacks confidence in his long-time colleagues who include government members?