Reform leader hopes coalition MPs follow conscience on no-confidence vote

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

Chair of the Reform Party, Kaja Kallas, says that the party is expecting that when a vote of no-confidence in Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE) takes place in November, the coalition partners who don't believe Helme is suitable for the role will vote according to their conscience, and against the government.

Kallas said that judging by the petition initiated by the Estonian Greens, only members of Helme's party, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and an unfriendly neighbor to the east are set to gain anything. The petition launched by the non-parliamentary Greens is calling for the Family Law Act to be amended to allow for same-sex marriage in Estonia. As it has gathered far over 1,000 online signatures (over 30,000 as of noon Tuesday - ed.), it is likely now to be debated at the Riigikogu.

Kallas is initiating the motion against the Minister of the Interior due to Helme's interview given to the German public international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (link in Russian) where he stated that homosexual people are not welcomed in Estonia and his attitude against them is an unfriendly one.

Kallas said that several coalition members have admitted that Helme is not fit for the ministerial position, adding she expects them to vote according to their conscience. She thinks that for that reason, the voting should be confidential.

"Looking at Mart Helme's behavior, he is not fit for the position, this is clear to everybody," Kallas said on ETV current affairs show "Esimene stuudio."

"Having talked to other coalition members, there are about 10 members who think Mart Helme is not fit for the position," Kallas noted. "I know that these people are pressured by their close ones to end the nonsense. Whether they will vote according to their conscience, we will see," Kallas said.

Kallas would need at least seven coalition MPs to vote against the government, at the 101-seat Riigikogu, assuming all the Reform and Social Democratic MPs vote in the motion's favor.

Kallas said that last week, the Reform Party had tried to actively start negotiations on forming the new coalition. However, the other side was not ready to negotiate. She noted that Reform gave a clear indication to the Center Party and Isamaa, but the latter have made it clear in the past that the Reform Party is not a choice for them. "There wasn't any double-play going on," Kallas said.

"The Reform Party is ready to form that government," Kallas said and added that clearly, they will be the leading power and former of the next government.

Kallas noted that EKRE wasn't the unsuccessful party in the recent government crisis, and had in fact got even more than they wanted because the referendum will take place and nobody had to or chose to apologize.

In Kallas' opinion, the petition initiated by the Greens is an answer to EKRE's provocation, which has polarized society. "EKRE provoked, and this provocation was answered; before, there wasn't such confrontation as there is now."

According to Kallas, the Reform Party has always stood for equal rights, which is why the Registered Partnership Act was initiated on its watch in 2014. She also added that as a member of the Riigikogu, it seems strange to sign the referendum, as it is an appeal to the Riigikogu.

"What EKRE has achieved is that the people who are actually on the same side are suddenly at each other's throats, and those who will benefit from this polarized society - perhaps the leaders of EKRE and our big and unfriendly eastern neighbor," she said.

"There are all sorts of criticisms and those words are very harsh, but at times it seems that the frustration over this government is strong, and it means that a lot is expected from the opposition," she said.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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