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Opposition parties in no hurry to start any new no-confidence motion

Reform Party leader Kaja Kallas at the Riigikogu.
Reform Party leader Kaja Kallas at the Riigikogu. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The two opposition parties, Reform and the Social Democratic Party (SDE), say they are in no hurry to launch a new motion of no-confidence in Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, in the wake of controversy which engulfed the rural affairs ministry in recent weeks, culminating in the release from office of both the minister, Mart Järvik (EKRE) and the secretary general, Illar Lemetti.

Speaking to daily Õhtuleht, both Reform Party leader Kaja Kallas, and SDE leader Indrek Saar, said they were weighing up what their next steps should be, though they laid the blame squarely at the prime minister's door.

"The prime minister is still responsible for the chaos in the government, so there is reason to distrust him," Kallas told Õhtuleht, ERR reports.

"But given that last week we saw how the coalition voting machine worked in the vote of no-confidence in Mart Järvik, who had been caught in repeated violations, it is not wise to do so (i.e. have another vote of no-confidence) now," he added.

"There have been quite a few of these no-confidence votes (in addition to Ratas, a vote of no-confidence in interior minister Mart Helme at the beginning of June, and the motion against Järvik just a week and a half ago-ed.)," Saar noted.

How the three no-confidence votes in the current coalition went

A motion of no-confidence requires the signature of 21 members at the Riigikogu before it can be put before the chamber. Once enough signatures have been garnered, the motion is put to the Riigikogu.

Reform has 34 members in the Riigikogu, SDE 10, since former independent Raimond Kaljulaid recently joined the party.

This would still not be enough for a majority, meaning a successful motion of no confidence would need another seven coalition MPs to vote for it, at the 101-seat Riigikogu, assuming all opposition MPs voted in favor, and excluding abstentions etc.

The vote of no-confidence in Mart Järvik was defeated by 51 votes to 43 on Nov. 14. The vote of no-confidence in Jüri Ratas (which required an extraordinary sitting of the Riigikogu, which had not come back from its summer recess at the time) failed by 55 votes to 40, on Aug. 30, and the vote on Mart Helme on June 4 failed by 53 votes to 46, the narrowest margin so far.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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