Parliament rejects EKRE migration referendum bill
The Riigikogu rejected a bill on Tuesday that demanded a referendum to decide whether or not Estonia should take part in the European migrant distribution plan. The bill had been sponsored by the Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE).
Of the members participating in the vote, 14 voted in favour of the bill, and 51 voted against it. There were four abstentions.
EKRE had previously collected 40,000 signatures to demand a referendum in the matter.
The Riigikogu’s Constitutional Committee had decided against two draft resolutions earlier in September, one on carrying out a referendum to limit the number of people that can get international protection in Estonia, and the other on a referendum against the EU’s migrant distribution plan.
Estonia has agreed to take in about 550 people, to be relocated from Greece and Italy by the end of 2017. As of mid-September, Estonia had only accepted 60 people, which is about 11% of the planned amount.
The rejection of the bill comes as the third piece of bad news to EKRE within just days, after their presidential candidate, Mart Helme, failed to mobilize even his own party’s supporters in the electoral college on Saturday, and after a drop in EKRE’s approval ratings in the most recent survey from 13% to an all-year low of 10%.