There has been a change of leadership with the Reform Party government in Estonia. Out goes Andrus Ansip as prime minister and in comes Siim Kallas, the former Commissioner for Transport in Brussels. Kallas has been away from Estonia for almost ten years.
So he will return to his former job as prime minister, and certainly to the Reform Party he created. His move might seem a come down, but in reality it is not. Kallas is very clever is nurturing a dream of combining the office of Prime Minister and President on the grounds of cost saving, first floated by him as far back as 2003. But first he needs to be in Parliament to get the merger through.
He has a perpetual smile but this former Soviet Commissar knows how to swim in the seas of turbulence in politics and controversy, he friendship with Berlusconi being just one small example. He offered Berlusconi political exile in Estonia if things got to handle in Italy.
Ansip should have seen this all coming. When he came to power as Prime Minister he left all of Kallas’s people in charge of his office and did not remove them for reasons difficult to understand.
Kallas is a money man, he has a history of financial mismanagement but when he started the Reform Party it was know as the Party of Bankers. And he has now said that he want to privatise all that is left in Estonia that remains under state control.
Kallas is not just a name he is a family business, like the Alievs in Azerbaijan or the Nazabayevs in Kazakhstan. His family’s nickname within Reform are the Alievs !
He pushed his untested daughter Kaja into Parliament in the spring of 2011 elections. She is now on the top of her Party list to become an MEP in the May elections. She will oust the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Kristina Ojulan from this position. She is a failed lawyer and many times married.
Kaja has spent almost ten years as an energy lobbyist in Estonia. She and her brother have shares in 8 or 9 energy companies. She will seek to become Chairwoman of the Reform Party in parliament to cement the family dynasty firmly as a fact on the ground as opposed to an ambition.
Kallas is not without problems abroad so he will need to move quickly. Having caused so much financial intrigue in Estonia he now finds himself the subject of an investigation by the European Commission into graft during his tenure as Transport Commissioner.
But if he becomes President of Estonia he might claim sovereign immunity and avoid extradition and prosecution. For those minded to I can refer them to the excellent book on Kallas’s criminality written by the outstanding Estonian investigative journalist, Virkko Lepasalu call the “the Kallas Affair”.
He will have created a family dynasty when he gets back to Tallinn and there is already said to be a blacklist which has been leaked to the local press of their real and imagined political opponents.
So with cunning, guile and tricks Kallas is back and like the main character the legendary British political drama the House of Cards, Kallas smiles at everyone patting them on the back but with a knife in his hand as he befriends all those around him.