The Social Democrats have given up their pursuit of a vote of no confidence against Justice Minister Kristen Michal , failing to gain the support of even the Center Party, the archrival of the minister's party.
"We asked IRL, the Center Party and the members of the Democrats' Union to join the petition for a vote of no confidence. Unfortunately, our bill only received 19 signatures, which shows that the majority of Parliament did not wish to hold a discussion on the issue of political accountability," MP Andres Anvelt said in a press release.
"We continue to believe that, in a situation where an agency that is a subordinate of the justice minister is investigating suspicions of his criminal activity, the minister should step down from his political position and allow law enforcement authorities to neutrally and objectively investigate the case,” said Anvelt.
Anvelt referenced the words of President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, himself a former Social Democrat, who said before Parliament on September 10: "[...] the minister does not have a direct obligation to resign. But in making his decision, he should note that his decision will shape political culture in Estonia, the way in which Estonia is and will be governed, and whether power and rule will be trustworthy."
Michal is suspected of inciting a fellow Reform Party member to move funds from an unnamed source into the party's pockets in the form of private donations.The minister has previously said that he would resign if indicted.
The Social Democrats launched a petition for a vote of confidence against the minister earlier this month. Fifty-one votes would be needed for a vote of no confidence. Such a decision would require votes from the coalition parties, which together have 56 members in the 101-member Parliament.