Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid has named a candidate for the post of the new prime minister, the leader of the opposition Reform Party, Kaja Kallas.
Estonian Prime Minister and Center Party leader Jüri Ratas announced Wednesday that he was resigning because of a corruption scandal affecting the party.
“This morning I met with Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, who has submitted his resignation. It will take effect tomorrow. There is a need to restore confidence in our state. Today I will make an offer to Kai Kallas to form a new government. Estonian people need leadership that is trustworthy,” Kaljulaid said Wednesday at a news conference at the presidential palace.
Parliamentary parties begin consultations Wednesday to form a new government. Center Party board member Jana Toom called a likely government to be formed by the Reform and Social Democratic parties, as well as the Isamaa party. She did not rule out the possibility that the centrists could join the new government, but not in the role of the prime minister’s party.
The Estonian Prosecutor’s Office and Security Police (KAPO) on Tuesday brought criminal charges against the Centrist Party, Centrist General Secretary Michael Korbu, Finance Minister Advisor Kersti Kracht, and entrepreneur Hillar Teder.
According to the investigation, Teder and Korb agreed that Teder would give up to 1 million euros to the Centrist Party before this fall’s local elections, in return for a large loan to the Teder-affiliated firm Porto Franco. Kracht promised to help Tehder get the preferential loan. Kracht and Teder were both charged with a money-laundering agreement. According to the suspicion, Kracht was to receive a bribe from Teeder for these services, the transfer of which did not take place due to the detention of Teeder and Kracht by KAPO officers.
In the third quarter of 2020, Hillar Teder provided the Centrist Party with 60,000 euros. The Kredex state fund board discussed a 39.4 million euro loan to Porto Franco in early July, and the government approved the loan on September 3. Porto Franco is run by the entrepreneur’s son Rauno Teder.