Seeder: Even 50/50 result for marriage vote will give clarity

Even if next year's vote on the concept of marriage is only narrowly in favor of one answer or gives a 50/50 result it still provides clarity about how to move on, Isamaa Chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder said on Tuesday.

Seeder said the vote will not solve all of Estonia's problems but will provide clarity about the situation. He told ERR that tensions within political parties will subside afterwards.

If a 50/50 result is given then politicians will have the knowledge to think about how to move forward and must be able to negotiate, which Seeder believes would be a "big step forward" compared to now.

"Then we will know that the Estonian people are also split and then politicians must act accordingly, negotiating with the knowledge that the Estonian people are polarized and this is new knowledge for us," he said.

"So I think this clarity is necessary for politicians to further shape their next steps," Seeder explained.

Referendum or plebiscite? 

Last week, politicians began using the word plebiscite (rahvaküsitlus) rather than referendum (rahvahääletus) when discussing the concept of marriage vote, which both have a different legal standing as one is legally binding and one is not.

Seeder said referendum is the correct term because that is what was agreed in the coalition agreement. However, he also said it is also necessary to clarify the meaning of this referendum. 

"What is the legal meaning? Is it a binding vote or is it not binding? And if so, to what extent? Here, lawyers have different views on this and this dispute also needs to be clearly debated. These are not disagreements within the coalition, but they are different interpretations of Estonia's laws," he said.

Next week, the coalition parties will continue to discuss the word of the question, which has not yet been agreed. Two proposals submitted by EKRE have not been suitable because they are not legally correct.

"The Isamaa faction will certainly discuss this on Monday as well, but we can already say that these proposed options are not suitable in this form. Certainly not. There will definitely be a different wording proposed, but I am not proposing a new variant to the public at the moment, that needs to be discussed within the coalition, then it needs to be discussed by legal experts." he said.

The vote, backed by EKRE and expected to be held at the end of April, will ask whether the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman should be added to the constitution.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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