Andrus Ansip has completed the valitsus remont - government renovation - he began last month by firing the three Social Democrats in his government.
An attempt to woo Rahvaliit -- the agrarian People's Union -- into the government failed when Isamaa Res Publica Liit , the conservatives, killed the agreement. IRL party boss Mart Laar had been saying that a minority government was a possibility from the beginning and, wouldn't you know, he was right!
Interior Minister Jüri Pihl has been replaced by Marko Pomerants, Finance Minister Ivari Padar's chair will now be warmed by Jürgen Ligi, and Population Affairs Minister Urve Palo's spot will not be filled. Her duties were split up and transferred to other ministries.
Now, with two parties running the Estonian government that the majority of Estonians did not vote for in the last parliamentary elections in March 2007, it's a right wing love-in. Not only do most of the ministers ascribe to the same political philosophy, they look the same and come from the same places. They'll be counting on the support of the Greens and Rahvaliit to get things done. Let's call them the loyal opposition.
Out of a cabinet of 13 ministers, 12 are male, 1 is female. Four were born in Tartu, but Culture Minister Laine Jänes (born in Moscow) and Education Minister Tõnis Lukas (of Tallinn) call the city home. So most of them are Tartlased. Defense Minister Jaak Aaviksoo, age 55, is the eldest. Social Affairs Minister Henno Pevkur, 32, is the youngest. Of course, the environmental minister hails from Saaremaa and Pevkur is from Ida Virumaa, so you can count that as diversity if you like.
But just because this male, middle-aged, ethnic Estonian cabinet looks homogenous, doesn't mean it is. Each minister has their own personal touch that distinguishes them from the rest. Pomerants in particular is known by some as Minister Kes Peeretas? -- Minister "Who Farted?" -- for his habit of keeping his nose to the political winds. Somebody called him that in my presence when he was social affairs minister during the Juhan Parts government, and it stuck. I can't help it. Each time I see him, it comes to mind.
Meantime, the opposition shows no signs of coming together behind a certain platform or alternative leadership. Pihl and Padar politely wished their replacements luck, while Savisaar has been telling the press that IRL now controls the Estonian government and that Ansip is, essentially, the prime minister in another Laar government. Laar's job is to make the decisions, argues Savisaar, while Ansip's job is to take all the criticism.
Good old Edgar. He doesn't mince his words, now does he. He leads what is, according to opinion polls, the most popular party in Estonia, and yet nobody ever seems to want to form a government with him. And the others in his party gladly lineup behind him, like lambs to the electoral slaughter. Something just doesn't smell right.