EKRE register anti-Cohabitation Act parliamentary group, Sooäär cries foul (6)

Martin Helme (Postimees/Scanpix)
4/22/2015 1:23 PM
Category: Politics

The Conservative People's Party (EKRE) have successfully registered an anti-Cohabitation Act parliamentary group after the pro-camp hijacked the first attempt a week earlier.

Martin Helme (EKRE) cut the founding meeting of a parliamentary group to protect traditional families short last week after realizing more pro-Cohabitation Act MPs showed up and would have voted the Reform Party MP Imre Sooäär as chairman instead.

In the second attempt, Helme wrote a clause in the founding document that all members must promise to vote against the law's implementing acts. The Cohabitation Act, passed last year, but needing a number of implementing bills to be passed, gives same-sex couples more legal rights.

Sooäär said today EKRE has decided to ignore other MPs, organizing the founding meeting on a Parliament sitting-free week when MPs from outside of Tallinn have gone home. He said the party founded a group which is equal to their own faction, adding that such groups are created to open debate between parties on various topics.

The group also aims to define paragraph 27 of the Estonian Constitution to reflect the group's values. The paragraph, which talks about families, does not mention that a family must consist of a mother and a father.

All seven EKRE MPs turned out for the group's founding meeting, but no other MP showed up. Soosäär said he can not recall any other parliamentary group which had members only from one party.

The implementing acts are expected to cause heated discussions in the Parliament. Two of the three coalition partners back the act, but since IRL does not, the topic was not discussed during coalition talks and there is no mention of it in the coalition agreement.

EKRE's success at the recent parliamentary elections is much down to opposition to the act. All other parties are expected to drop party discipline for any vote on the implementing acts.

The initial act was passed 40 to 38 votes last year and will enter force in 2016 if the implementing acts are also passed.

J.M. Laats

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