No-confidence motion in rural affairs minister fails

A motion of no-confidence in rural affairs minister Mart Järvik (EKRE) failed a Riigikogu vote on Thursday.

The motion was defeated by 51 votes to 43 at the 101-seat Riigikogu, with five abstentions and two other deputies not voting.

A no-confidence motion requires a minimal 51 votes to pass. The motion was brought by Reform Party leader Kaja Kallas and supported by all 44 opposition MPs, meaning one did not vote in favor of the motion.

The motion charged Järvik with obstructing the activities of the Veterinary and Food Board (VTA) in ensuring food safety, misleading the public, and favoring private interests in the interests of the state.

Järvik has recently been involved in two controversies, one regarding a conflict of interest claim, following his hiring of a (now-departed) advisor who was simultaneously acting as legal counsel for defendants in a case against a rural affairs ministry body, and the other concerning when he first became aware of Listeria bacteria being traced to a fish-packing plant near Tallinn.

Kaja Kallas later said at the Riigikogu that Järvik could hardly be expected to understand the principle of the legal continuity of the Estonian state when he allowed the photos of his predecessors from both Soviet and Nazi German periods of occupation.

Speaking on behalf of the other opposition party, the Social Democratic Party (SDE), Ivari Padar said that in the context of the forthcoming EU budget negotiations, Estonia needed strong confidence in its minister.

The no-confidence vote is the third of its kind which Kallas has brough against ministers from the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) since it entered into office with Centre and Isamaa in late April. The previous motions were against interior minister Mart Helme. These also failed to pass.

Järvik is still the subject of a government-initiated enquiry, which should present its findings in around 10 days' time.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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