Five parliamentary groups give Rõivas until 2 p.m. Wednesday to step down as prime minister (7)

Representatives of the five parliamentary groups discussing the no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas scheduled for Wednesday. Nov. 8, 2016. (Siim Lõvi/ERR)
11/8/2016 1:37 PM
Category: News

The leaders of five of the Riigikogu's six parliamentary groups convened on Tuesday afternoon, where they decided to jointly support the no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas if he does not step down himself by 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

The chairmen of the Riigikogu's Center Party, Free Party, Social Democratic Party (SDE), Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) Parliamentary Groups convened in the Riigikogu building on Tuesday afternoon in order to jointly discuss Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas' decision today not to accept the coalition partners' appeal to step down from his position as head of the Estonian government.

"Taavi Rõivas' decision not to step down from his position and wait for tomorrow's no-confidence vote demonstrates the Reform Party's arrogance and inability to make decisions in Estonia's interests," the five parliamentary group chairmen announced in a joint statement. "We are calling upon the prime minister to step down himself by 2 p.m. at the latest. Otherwise the head of government will be faced with five political parties' joint motion of no confidence, which is unprecedented. Estonia is a democratic state and it is time for the prime minister to recognize that the coalition has folded."

IRL Parliamentary Group Chairman Priit Sibul noted that following the decision made on Monday by the the party's board of directors, they have been left with no choice but to go forward on a motion of no confidence against their own government.

SDE Parliamentary Group Chairman Andres Anvelt likewise noted that the Social Democrats' board of directors was unanimous with regards to leaving the government coalition.

"As you can see, the Reform Party has moved to the trenches of the media war," Anvelt commented. "Various security risks are highlighted as yet another danger. I am willing to confirm that we do not in any case see an expression of such risks as the Reform Party has highlighted."

EKRE Parliamentary Group Chairman Martin Helme added that a change of government in the US is a much bigger risk to Estonia than that of a change of government in Estonia itself.

Vote of no confidence first item on agenda Wednesday

Should Rõivas stick to his decision and refuse to step down as prime minister, the vote of no confidence against him will remain the first item on the agenda for Wednesday's plenary session of the Riigikogu, which per the Riigikogu's Rules of Procedure Act is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor clarified to ERR on Tuesday that according to the law, a vote of no confidence shall be scheduled no earlier than two days following its submission in the Riigikogu, adding that according to the logic of the Constitution, it will be discussed as the first item on the agenda if the prime minister hasn't reconsidered and stepped down from his position before then.

Should Rõivas change his mind and step down before 2 p.m. on Wednesday, the vote will be called off, as "somebody who has stepped down cannot be removed [from office]," said Nestor.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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