Opposition plans to draw up Helme no-confidence motion this week

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

Opposition parties at the Riigikogu plan to initiate a motion of no-confidence in interior minister Mart Helme early this week.

Kaja Kallas, leader of the Reform Party, the larger of the two opposition parties and in fact the largest party by Riigikogu seats at 34, told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) Sunday that the motion would be drafted early on in the week and that the other opposition party, the Social Democrats (10 seats) would be joining them.

"Mart Helme has repeatedly shown that he is not suited to a ministerial role," Kallas said.

"If he continues in the post, he will continue to damage Estonia's relations and continue to be a real threat to both internal and external security; this type of person should be recalled from the position," she added.

Reform have initiated several motions of no-confidence in the Center Party-EKRE-Isamaa coalition, and in both Mart Helme (EKRE) and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) since the coalition entered office at the end of April 2019. None of these has passed so far.

The latest motion follows remarks Helme made in an interview with Deutsche Welle's Russian-language portal published on October 15, saying that gay people in Estonia ought to relocate to Sweden, where the atmosphere would be more conducive to them, adding that he looked at that part of society with a hostile eye.

Helme says his comments had been mistranslated; the interview sparked a split in the coalition and met with condemnation from Ratas and social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Center), but the warring parties buried the hatchet with a joint statement issued late last week.

The deal included bringing forward a planned referendum on the definition of marriage to spring. The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) had wanted the referendum – which would likely pose a straight yes-no question on whether marriage should be defined as between one man and one woman - to take place concurrently with the autumn 2021 local elections.

The constitution currently does not define marriage.

In order to pass, the no-confidence motion would require the support of at least six coalition MPs at the 101-seat Riigikogu, assuming all Reform, Social Democrat and the one independent MP (Raimond Kaljulaid) vote in support.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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