Estonia’s prime minister, Kaja Kallas, has called for talks on a new government after her ruling coalition fell apart, urging unity because of security concerns over neighbouring Russia.
Kallas spoke to reporters after President Alar Karis accepted her request to dismiss seven Centre party ministers from the 15-strong cabinet, including the foreign minister, Eva-Maria Liimets.
“More than ever, Estonia needs a functioning government based on common values,” Kallas said on Friday, according to the Baltic news agency. “The security situation in Europe does not give me any opportunity as prime minister to continue cooperation with the Centre party.”
The dismissal of the Centre ministers follows weeks of political deadlock, including a vote on an education bill in which the coalition partner voted against the government and with the far-right EKRE opposition instead.
“It’s honest to say that this agreement is over and we’re going to form a new coalition,” Kallas said.
Kallas’s Reform party has proposed coalition talks with the rightwing Isamaa conservatives and the Social Democrats.
The Centre and Reform parties have alternated in government over the nearly three decades since Estonia broke free from the crumbling Soviet Union.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has deeply concerned the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which are all EU and Nato members.
Kallas said she hoped the conflict “would have opened the eyes of all the parliamentary parties to the importance of a common understanding of the threats for us as a country neighbouring Russia”.
In a Facebook post, she said Estonia’s future would be secured not just by increased military spending but also “the unity of our people and the unwavering will to defend our independence”.
Until a new coalition is formed, the ministers who remain in the cabinet will take over the roles of those dismissed.
If talks fall through, the government will collapse and new elections must be held.