Jüri Ratas (Estonian pronunciation: [ˈjyri ˈrɑtɑs]) (born 2 July 1978) is an Estonian politician who has been Prime Minister of Estonia and Leader of the Centre Party since 2016. During his tenure, the Centre Party has seen a drop in popularity polls, with support hovering around 15% in May 2019, being the lowest score in at least 12 years. His tenure has also seen the national budget of Estonia going into deficit after years of being in surplus.
Ratas in 2015
|Prime Minister of Estonia|
|Assumed office |
23 November 2016
|Preceded by||Taavi Rõivas|
|Leader of the Centre Party|
|Assumed office |
5 November 2016
|Preceded by||Edgar Savisaar|
|Mayor of Tallinn|
15 November 2005 – 5 April 2007
|Preceded by||Tõnis Palts|
|Succeeded by||Edgar Savisaar|
|Born||2 July 1978|
|Political party||Centre Party|
|Alma mater||Tallinn University of Technology|
On 5 November 2016, Ratas was elected to succeed Edgar Savisaar as the leader of the Centre Party. After Taavi Rõivas' second cabinet split in November 2016 due to internal struggle, coalition talks began between Centre Party, Social Democratic Party, and Pro Patria and Res Publica Union. On 19 November, the three parties agreed on the conditions of Ratas' first cabinet. Ratas was sworn in as the prime minister of Estonia on 23 November.
After 2019 parliamentary election, Ratas turned down an offer from the liberal, election-winning Reform Party for coalition and instead entered into talks with the conservative Isamaa and the often-considered as far-right, EKRE. On 17 April, Riigikogu granted Ratas the authority to form the government and remain Prime Minister. These talks resulted in the formation of Ratas' second cabinet in April 2019.
During his tenure, the national budget of Estonia went into deficit after years of being in surplus. This drew widespread criticism, notably from the European Commission and the Estonian Central Bank. 
Coalition formation controversy of 2019Edit
In the elections of 2019, the party of Ratas, the Estonian Centre Party, lost support while the oppositional, liberal Estonian Reform Party, gained support and became the largest party by parliament seats in Estonia. After the elections, Ratas turned down an offer by the Reform party for coalition talks and entered into talks with Isamaa and EKRE, the latter being widely considered a far-right party. Ratas had previously ruled out forming a coalition with EKRE during the election campaign because of its hostile views.
"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."— 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.
The critics of the decision have claimed that Ratas is willing to sacrifice his party's values, the confidence of his voters and the stability and reputation of the country to keep his position as prime minister. Ratas has countered that his first duty is to look for ways to get his party included in the government to be able to work in the benefit of his voters and that the coalition would continue to firmly support the EU, NATO and would be sending out messages of tolerance.
Some key members and popular candidates of the party of Ratas have been critical of the decision, with Raimond Kaljulaid leaving the party in protest. Yana Toom, a member of the party and its representative in the European Parliament expressed criticism of the decision. Mihhail Kõlvart, popular among the russian-speaking voters and the newly-elect mayor of Tallinn, has said the Centre party cannot govern with EKRE's approach.
The decision was also criticized by Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the ALDE group in the European Parliament where The Centre Party of Ratas is a member, suggesting that Ratas should break off coalition talks with the national-conservative EKRE. Ratas responded in the Estonian media that "Brussels should not dictate to us what our coalition should be like."
When on the third week of coalition talks, Martin Helme of EKRE accused gynaecologists of violating their Hippocratic Oath by performing abortions, Ratas demanded the party to stop accusing doctors – with this being the first public criticism of EKRE by Ratas after the start of the coalition talks.
On 17 April, Riigikogu voted in favor for granting Ratas the authority to form the government.
Ratas was born in Tallinn, Estonia. He attended Nõmme Secondary School, graduated from Tallinn University of Technology in Business Management and obtained a Master´s degree in Economic Sciences from the same university. He also holds a Bachelor´s degree in Law from the University of Tartu.
Ratas regards himself to be a believer and has completed the Alpha course at St. Olaf's Church. Although in the press he has been described as a baptist, he has denied this. Apart from the Estonian language, Ratas is fluent in English and has an understanding of Russian, Swedish and Portuguese. His hobbies include chess, reading and horse riding.
- ERR (13 May 2019). "Keskerakonna toetus langes rekordmadalale". ERR.
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- ERR, Mait Ots (12 March 2019). "Kaljulaid ERR-ile: enne lõhenegu Keskerakond, kui EKRE võimule aidatakse". ERR. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- ERR (11 March 2019). "Toom: ma ei näe EKRE-s väärilist partnerit". ERR. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- ERR, ERR (12 March 2019). "Kõlvart on EKRE's views: We cannot govern with their approach". ERR. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- "Ratas: Brüssel ei peaks Eestile ette kirjutama, missugune on meie uus koalitsioon". Postimees. 13 March 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- ERR (13 March 2019). "Guy Verhofstadt implores Jüri Ratas to call off EKRE talks". ERR. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- ERR, ERR (22 March 2019). "Ratas to EKRE: Blaming gynaecologists, women must stop". ERR.
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- "Tallinna linnapea Jüri Ratas on baptist". Delfi Publik. 23 December 2005. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
- "Vaata pikka intervjuud uue peaministriga". Eesti Televisioon. 23 November 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
- "Знакомьтесь, премьер-министр". dv.ee. 2016-11-21. Retrieved 2019-04-20.
| Mayor of Tallinn
| Prime Minister of Estonia
|Party political offices|
| Leader of the Centre Party
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