Reform applies for remote sittings after MPs have to quarantine

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

Opposition Reform Party has applied for Riigikogu sessions this week to be held remotely, after two of its leading MPs have had to quarantine following potential contact with an individual who has contracted the coronavirus. The party is organizing a no-confidence motion vote in interior minister Mart Helme this week.

Reform is proposing holding Wednesday and Thursday's sessions remotely, to enable it to carry out the vote.

"Due to objective reasons, the group of the Reform Party is making a proposal to apply remote participation with the sitting starting at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, October 28, and the sitting starting at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 29," a letter by the Reform Party's Riigikogu group reads. 

Those objective reasons are MPs Siim Kallas and Aivar Sõerd having had to self-quarantine since attending a Viimsi rural municipality session attended by an individual who later tested positive for COVID-19, meaning they cannot come to the chamber until November 3.

The matter is complicated by the Riigikogu taking a break that week, with the next available slot being November 9. By that time, the topic may have lost its momentum.

The motion, issued in response to remarks made by Helme in the international media to the effect that homosexuals should leave the country for Sweden, is sponsored by Reform, who are joined by the smaller opposition party, the Social Democratic Party (SDE). It would need 51 votes to pass. Reform and SDE have 44 seats between them meaning they would need several coalition MPs to vote against the incumbent interior minister even if Sõerd and Kallas are able to vote.

It is up to the Riigikogu's three-member board whether to allow the remote sessions to go ahead this week. Riigikogu speaker, Henn Põlluaas, is an EKRE MP who has already clearly opposed the exception for just two MPs. One of the two deputy speakers is Siim Kallas himself, leaving Helir-Valdor Seeder (Isamaa) the casting vote.

The Riigikogu board is to gather for a scheduled meeting at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday with the matter likely to be on the table.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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