Jüri Ratas' second cabinet

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Jüri Ratas' second cabinet
Flag of Estonia.svg
50th Cabinet of Estonia
Jüri Ratase II valitsus.jpg
Date formed29 April 2019
Date dissolved14 January 2021
People and organisations
Head of stateKersti Kaljulaid
Head of governmentJüri Ratas
No. of ministers15
Total no. of members23
Member partiesCentre Party
Conservative People's Party
Opposition partiesReform Party
Social Democrats
Election(s)2019 election
PredecessorJüri Ratas' first cabinet
SuccessorKaja Kallas' cabinet

Jüri Ratas' second cabinet was the 50th cabinet of Estonia, in office from 29 April 2019 to 14 January 2021.[1] It was a centre-right coalition cabinet of the Centre Party, right-wing populist Conservative People's Party and conservative Isamaa.[2][3]


Following the defeat for the sitting Ratas' first cabinet at the 2019 elections and the loss of majority in the parliament Centre Party initiated coalition talks with the third largest Conservative People's Party and fourth largest Isamaa.[4] Although the election-winning Reform party offered to form a coalition with Jüri Ratas' Centre Party, Ratas turned down the offer. This left the winners of the elections, Reform Party, with no chance to form a majority cabinet. Leader of the Reform Party, Kaja Kallas, however went on to propose a minority cabinet formed by the Reform and Social Democrats, but it did not gain the necessary number of votes in the parliament.[5] Coalition partners nonetheless faced three rebel MPs with Centre MP Raimond Kaljulaid quitting the Centre Party in protest against the inclusion of EKRE in the coalition.[6]

On 17 April 2019, the new cabinet got approval of Riigikogu with the support of 55 out of 101 MPs with one Isamaa rebel MP and former Centre MP Kaljulaid voting against with the opposition.[2]

Ratas resigned on the evening of 12 January 2021 as a result of the Porto Franco corruption scandal and the government as a whole resigned on 14 January. The cabinet continued to act as a caretaker government until the Kaja Kallas' cabinet was sworn in on 26 January.[7][8]

Incidents and controversies[edit]

Coalition formation[edit]

Ratas had previously ruled out forming a coalition with EKRE during the election campaign because of differences between their views.[9]

"When I said before that it would be impossible for me to cooperate with a political party which cuts heads off, doesn't agree to certain nationalities or races, then EKRE has indeed said those things."[9]

— Ratas talking about EKRE in November 2018, widely interpreted as ruling out a coalition with EKRE.

The subsequent reversal of his stance and the inclusion of EKRE by Ratas in coalition talks after the elections was met with local and international criticism. In a poll conducted after the start of the coalition talks, the party of Jüri Ratas further lost support.[10][11]

Gender equality[edit]

The cabinet faced criticism for having only two women, Centre Mailis Reps and Isamaa Riina Solman, with Conservative People's Party fielding a full male line-up for their portfolios.[12][13] Conservative People's later also named a female minister, Kert Kingo, after the resignation of Marti Kuusik.[14]

The Chairman of Conservative People's Party and Minister of the Interior Mart Helme faced criticism for calling president Kersti Kaljulaid an "emotionally heated woman".[15][16]

Freedom of speech[edit]

A public debate on freedom of speech started after controversial actions by the new cabinet parties. On 28 March 2019 Conservative People's proposed new Minister of Finance, Martin Helme, demanded that Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) would ban and punish journalists who had criticised his party.[17] On 22 April journalist Vilja Kiisler left Postimees, one of the biggest newspapers in Estonia, due to differences with the paper’s newly appointed editor-in-chief[18] on her op-ed about the policies of the Conservative People’s Party. The editor-in-chief Peeter Helme is the nephew of the leader of the Conservative People’s Party Mart Helme and the newspaper is owned by a member and financier of the third government party Pro Partia.[19] On 26 April journalist Ahto Lobjakas announced quitting the ERR where, he said, he was given a choice between self-censorship and leaving.[20] On the swearing-in of the new cabinet president Kersti Kaljulaid wore a sweatshirt emblazoned with the slogan Sõna on vaba (the word/speech is free) as a statement of the importance of the freedom of speech.[21]

On 14 May 2019, Minister of the Interior Mart Helme accused ERR's United States correspondent Maria-Ann Rohemäe of deceiving and lying.[22] ERR responded with public statement in support of their journalist and condemning attacks against journalists.[23]

"OK" hand gesture[edit]

Conservative People's Party of Estonia Mart Helme Minister of the Interior and his son Minister of Finance Martin Helme caused some controversy by publicly flashed the "OK" hand gesture which is a hand signal that has been come to be seen as a white supremacist symbol.[24][25] MP Jaak Madison commented afterwards that the symbols were used as "pure trolling" in order to rile the media and the party’s opponents.[26]

In May 2019, when Marine Le Pen was visiting Estonia for discussions with EKRE, MP Ruuben Kaalep and Le Pen took a selfie together with both flashing the same gesture.[27]

Resignation of Marti Kuusik[edit]

In the next morning after the elections Conservative People's proposed new Minister of Foreign Trade and Information Technology Marti Kuusik was caught by the police speeding (74 km/h in 50 km/h zone) and driving under the influence.[28] Both prime minister Jüri Ratas and Conservative People's Party stated that they do not see this as a reason to replace Kuusik.[29]

On 29 April 2019, reports emerged of alleged history of Kuusik's domestic violence including breaking his wife's arm bone twice.[30] Kuusik denied the accusations.[31] Following the emergency meeting with Kuusik and Conservative People's delegation Ratas decided that there is no need to replace Kuusik and that he can take the oath of office.[32] Before Kuusik took the oath president Kaljulaid left the room, leaving Kuusik to bow for the empty seat. Kaljulaid promised to be the first to apologize to Kuusik should the accusations not be true.[33]

On the same day, a criminal investigation was launched to determine whether the accusations were true.[34] On 30 April 2019 the Director General of the Police and the Prosecutor General gave Ratas an overview of the collected evidence after which Ratas handed over Kuusk's letter of resignation to the President. Kuusk denied all the accusations reasoning that he resigns to ensure the stability of the government and to protect his family while focusing on disproving the accusations.[35] Chairman of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia Mart Helme heavily criticized the ousting of Kuusik, calling it a witch hunt.[36]

The Conservative Party struggled to find a nominee with a number of people declining the offer.[37] Finally two weeks after Kuusik's resignation Kert Kingo was appointed as a replacement for Kuusik.[14]

Resignation of Kert Kingo[edit]

On 25 October 2019, Minister of Foreign Trade and IT Kert Kingo resigned after being caught lying in front of the Riigikogu about the appointment of her new adviser who had posted sexually offensive remarks in Facebook.[38] On 2 November 2019 Kaimar Karu was appointed as a replacement for Kingo.[39]

Dismissal of Mart Järvik[edit]

On 25 November 2019, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas proposed the dismissal of the Minister of Rural Affairs Mart Järvik after a commission of inquiry led by the Secretary of State Taimar Peterkop had found that Järvik had exceeded his authority and made inconsistent statements regarding findings of Listeria bacteria at a fish packing plant.[40] After Järvik's dismissal by the President, he was followed in the position by Arvo Aller.[41]

Recalling of Kaimar Karu[edit]

On the morning of 17 April 2020, Minister of Foreign Trade and Information Technology Kaimar Karu announced on social media that the chairman of the Conservative People's Party Mart Helme has recalled him from the government. Helme accused Karu for not respecting party values, including their anti immigration views. Karu had been under strain for not supporting changes made to the Aliens Act.[42] Raul Siem was appointed as a replacement for Karu.[43]

Resignation of Rene Kokk[edit]

On 4 November 2020, Minister of the Environment Rene Kokk resigned on health reasons, both Jüri Ratas and Martin Helme stressed that his resignation had nothing to do with the unfinished forestry development plan.[44] On 12 November, Rain Epler was confirmed as the new minister.[45] Epler does not believe that the global warming is primarily caused by human activity and supports nuclear power.[46]

Resignation of Mart Helme[edit]

On 9 November 2020, Minister of the Interior Mart Helme, a supporter of Donald Trump, resigned due to political pressure after he and his son, Minister of Finance, Martin Helme had in their weekly radio show called 2020 United States presidential elections fraudulent, rigged by the "deep state" and US president elect Joe Biden a corrupt character.[47] On 18 November 2020, Alar Laneman was confirmed as the new minister.[48]

Resignation of Mailis Reps[edit]

On 20 November 2020, Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps resigned due to the media criticism on her usage of the official ministerial vehicles for her personal purposes.[49] She was replaced by Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab, with Anneli Ott inheriting Aab's former post.[50]


The coalition agreed to continue with fifteen portfolios equally allocated between the parties with each party holding five.[51]

Portfolio Minister Took office Left office Party
Government's Office
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas23 November 201626 January 2021Centre
Ministry of Finance
Minister of Finance Martin Helme29 April 201926 January 2021EKRE
Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab29 April 201925 November 2020Centre
 Anneli Ott25 November 202026 January 2021Centre
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu29 April 201926 January 2021Isamaa
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications
Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas29 April 2019to the next cabinetCentre
Minister of Foreign Trade and
Information Technology
 Marti Kuusik29 April 201930 April 2019EKRE
 Kert Kingo16 May 201925 October 2019EKRE
 Kaimar Karu[A]2 November 201917 April 2020Independent
 Raul Siem20 April 202026 January 2021EKRE
Ministry of Justice
Minister of Justice Raivo Aeg29 April 201926 January 2021Isamaa
Ministry of Defence
Minister of Defence Jüri Luik12 June 201726 January 2021Isamaa
Ministry of Culture
Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas29 April 201926 January 2021Isamaa
Ministry of the Interior
Minister of the Interior Mart Helme29 April 20199 November 2020EKRE
 Alar Laneman18 November 202026 January 2021EKRE
Minister of Population Affairs Riina Solman29 April 201926 January 2021Isamaa
Ministry of Education and Research
Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps23 November 201621 November 2020Centre
 Jaak Aab25 November 202026 January 2021Centre
Ministry of the Environment
Minister of the Environment Rene Kokk29 April 20197 November 2020EKRE
 Rain Epler16 November 202026 January 2021EKRE
Ministry of Social Affairs
Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik29 April 201926 January 2021Centre
Ministry of Rural Affairs
Minister of Rural Affairs Mart Järvik29 April 201925 November 2019EKRE
 Arvo Aller10 December 201926 January 2021EKRE
  1. ^
    Kaimar Karu represented EKRE as an independent politician.


  1. ^ "Ratas' second government sworn in Monday afternoon". ERR. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Riigikogu backs Centre-EKRE-Isamaa coalition, Ratas to remain PM". ERR. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  3. ^ "News Estonia: Far right set to enter government for first time". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Estonian PM invites far-right to join cabinet". Reuters. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Kaja Kallas not granted authority to form government". ERR. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Raimond Kaljulaid quits Centre Party". ERR. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Reform Party, Center Party to start coalition negotiations". ERR. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  8. ^ "Gallery: President appoints new government". ERR News. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  9. ^ a b ERR (22 November 2018). "Ratas peab koalitsiooni EKRE-ga võimatuks". ERR. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Kõlvart: erakonna püsimine on tähtsam kui olemine opositsioonis". Poliitika. 13 March 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  11. ^ "Uuring: valijad eelistavad kõike muud kui Keskerakonna-EKRE-Isamaa liitu". Poliitika. 14 March 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  12. ^ "Ossinovski hinnangul ei väärtusta loodav valitsus naiste rolli" (in Estonian). ERR. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  13. ^ "Võimuliidu ettekujutuses kõlbavad valitsema paremini mehed" (in Estonian). Eesti Päevaleht. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Galerii: president nimetas Kert Kingo ministriametisse" (in Estonian). ERR. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  15. ^ "Estonia minister calls first female president 'emotionally heated woman'". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  16. ^ "Estonia Minister Calls President 'Emotionally Heated Woman'". New York Times. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  17. ^ "Martin Helme nõuab ERR-ilt EKRE suhtes kriitiliste ajakirjanike karistamist ja eetrist mahavõtmist". Delfi. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  18. ^ "Postimehe peatoimetajaks saab Peeter Helme" (in Estonian). Delfi. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  19. ^ "UPDATED: The first Estonian journalist leaves a major newspaper over her views". Estonian World. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  20. ^ "Journalist: I was given a choice between self-censorship and leaving". Postimees. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  21. ^ "President attends Riigikogu oath ceremony wearing 'speech is free' slogan". ERR. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  22. ^ "Mart Helmele jäi ette järjekordne ERRi ajakirjanik, AK astus kolleegi kaitseks välja" (in Estonian). Postimees. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  23. ^ "Public response to Mart Helme accusations regarding ERR US correspondent". ERR. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  24. ^ "New Estonian government ministers fuel concerns over sexism, white supremacy". www.cbsnews.com.
  25. ^ "Estonia's far-right ministers face rocky start". 1 May 2019 – via www.bbc.com.
  26. ^ Central, Shaun Walker; correspondent, east European (15 May 2019). "Marine Le Pen makes 'OK' hand gesture used by white supremacists" – via www.theguardian.com.
  27. ^ "Marine Le Pen asks EKRE MP to delete 'selfie' from social media page". ERR. 15 May 2019.
  28. ^ "Incoming IT minister caught driving both speeding and with trace alcohol". ERR. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  29. ^ "Ratas ei nõua EKRE-lt Kuusiku väljavahetamist" (in Estonian). ERR. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  30. ^ "Marti Kuusiku suur saladus: peretuttavad räägivad, et uus minister on väga vägivaldne ja on kahel korral purustanud oma naise käeluu" (in Estonian). Eesti Ekspress. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  31. ^ "VIDEO Peaminister kahtlustas minister Marti Kuusikut lähisuhtevägivallas. Kas Kuusik murdis oma naise käeluu? Mees eitab kõike" (in Estonian). Delfi. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  32. ^ "Ratas: ma ei ole nõudnud Kuusiku väljavahetamist" (in Estonian). ERR. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  33. ^ "VIDEO President Kaljulaid lahkus Marti Kuusiku ametivande andmise ajal saalist" (in Estonian). Delfi. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  34. ^ "Allegations of domestic abuse against new minister". Postimees. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  35. ^ "Kuusik teatas, et astub ministriametist tagasi" (in Estonian). ERR. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  36. ^ "Kuusik saga unconstitutional witch hunt, says EKRE chief Mart Helme". ERR. 2 May 2019. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  37. ^ "Kellest saab uus minister? Kuusikule mantlipärija leidmine kujunes oodatust raskemaks" (in Estonian). Delfi. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  38. ^ "IT and foreign trade minister Kert Kingo submits resignation". ERR. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  39. ^ "Kaimar Karu named new foreign trade and IT minister". ERR. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  40. ^ "Prime minister calls for Mart Järvik dismissal". ERR. 25 November 2019. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  41. ^ "Gallery: President appoints Arvo Aller next rural affairs minister". ERR. 10 December 2019. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  42. ^ "Mart Helme recalls foreign trade, IT minister from government". ERR.
  43. ^ "Gallery: President appoints Raul Siem minister of IT, foreign trade". ERR.
  44. ^ "Environment minister Rene Kokk to step down". ERR. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  45. ^ "Rain Epler confirmed as new environment minister". ERR. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  46. ^ "Environment minister: I'm not convinced climate change is mainly man-made". ERR. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  47. ^ "Minister of Interior Mart Helme resigns". ERR. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  48. ^ "President Kersti Kaljulaid confirms Alar Laneman new interior minister". ERR. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  49. ^ "Mailis Reps resigns as education minister". Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  50. ^ "Kaljulaid approves Aab as new minister of education". Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  51. ^ "Centre, EKRE, Isamaa board meets unveil coalition deal, proposed ministers". ERR. Retrieved 17 April 2019.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jüri Ratas' first cabinet
Government of Estonia
Succeeded by
Kaja Kallas' cabinet