Isamaa's Parempoolsed against holding vote on definition of marriage

Isamaa's 'Right-wingers' association elects board.
Isamaa's 'Right-wingers' association elects board. Source: Anna-Aurelia Minev/ERR

The Parempoolsed (right-wingers) association formed within the Isamaa party does not support holding a plebiscite on the definition of marriage because the association considers it a threat to Estonia's political stability and the country's development.

"Any kind of votes and referendums held for populistic reasons distract from the country's real problems, escalate conflict in society and increase the resonance of extremism," the association said in a statement.

The statement said that conducting referendums is not a common instrument of political policy-making in Estonia and has been done only twice since the restoration of the independence of Estonia - a constitutional referendum in 1992 and a referendum on joining the European Union in 2003, which were fundamental issues concerning the development of the state.

"A referendum to define marriage would only pave the way for the next divisive votes. What is stopping some parties from campaigning to put issues such as the official language and citizenship to a referendum? Such polls polarize society and fuel unnecessary tensions. This is exactly what we are seeing in the planned marriage vote," it is said in the statement.

"When society as a whole is ready for certain changes at some point, a consensus will be found in the Riigikogu to bring about change. There is a right time for everything and it is clear that at the moment there is no broad consensus in the Riigikogu to define marriage in one direction or another. There are also different opinions on the issue of marriage in Isamaa, including in the Isamaa parliamentary group, the party board and among the council members. Plurality of opinions is normal in a democratic society, although it is not normal to establish them by the steamroller method," the association said.

Parempoolsed said representative democracy works very well in parliamentary Estonia. "We do not see the need to reorganize it for populist or day-to-day political reasons. That is why the Right-wingers are not in favor of passing laws by referendum," the association said.

The Parempoolsed association's view is in direct contrast with other members of the Isamaa party who believe marriage between a man and a woman should be protected by law.

Yesterday, it was reported that Isamaa's Minister of Population Riina Solman was displeased that Parempoolsed member Tõnis Kons had said publically there is no unified position within the party. The party's families association, women's union, Christian association and an association of nationalists later issued a statement saying the party's reputation is being damaged.

In July, it was announced that more than 100 members of the Isamaa party had founded the association within the party and written a manifesto titled "The right-wing choice for Estonia". They promise to stand up for Western values and right-wing opinions but against extremists in Estonian politics.

Members think radicalization in politics both on the right- and left-wing has created a lot of confusion for both voters and countries. Entrepreneur Kristjan Vanaselja was elected as the group's chairman last month.

The association's manifesto can be read here.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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