Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, ‘Europe’s new iron lady,’ at risk of losing her position

The strong supporter of Ukraine, in office since January 2021, has ended her coalition. Now leading a minority government, she has to find new allies or call early elections.

By Olivier Truc
June 11, 2022

Is Kaja Kallas in danger of losing her position as prime minister of Estonia? In recent weeks, the leader has earned the nickname “Europe’s new iron lady” for her relentless attacks on Vladimir Putin. Under her strong leadership, Estonia, along with Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, advocates the defeat of Russia to save Ukraine and, ultimately, Europe.

On Friday, June 3, Kaja Kallas dismissed the seven ministers belonging to the Center Party (center left, led by former Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, 2016-2021). In office since January 2021, she’s now leading a minority government.

Since then, negotiations have been going on between different parties to form a new coalition. It could have a negative impact on her, and by extension, Ukraine. The Conservative People’s Party (EKRE, far right), which is participating in the talks, has in recent months called for Estonia to stop taking in refugees from Ukraine and to close its borders.

“If Kaja Kallas leaves office, Ukraine will lose a strong and visible supporter,” said Kristi Raik, director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute. “And Estonia’s international position would suffer,” added Heiko Pääbo, a political scientist at the Institute of Government and Politics in Tartu.

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