Chairman of the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) Riigikogu faction Siim Pohlak said on the "Otse uudistemajast" webcast that even though Estonia is looking at difficult times because of the coronavirus and economic crises, democracy should not be put on standby and the marriage referendum should definitely go ahead.
Pohlak said that the referendum's draft resolution is ready and will see the question of "whether marriage should remain a union between a man and a woman in Estonia" put up for referendum on April 18.
Host Indrek Kiisler asked Pohlak whether it wouldn't be more sensible to postpone the referendum and address more serious problems caused by the coronavirus.
The politician answered that the government manages to also address more serious matters. "We should not put democracy on standby because of them," he said.
Talking about the opposition's plan to use obstruction tactics to suffocate the bill in the Riigikogu, Pohlak likened it to hijacking the people's voice and power. "If the government wants to hold a referendum on such a fundamental issue and we are seeing attempts to shut down the work of the parliament to stop it, it constitutes taking away the people's voice," Pohlak said.
The MP said the party's Riigikogu group is considering ways of seeing the bill through without it getting bogged down by the opposition's stalling tactics.
He emphasized that the referendum topic is of fundamental importance to EKRE. "Estonia has been an independent country for a long time, while the people have not been given the chance to be heard," Pohlak said.
Kiisler also asked the politician whether he would have fancied the environment minister's post himself. "I have taken things one step at a time in life. I feel that becoming more experienced in the parliament suits me today. I am in no rush to become minister," Pohlak replied.
Pohlak also did not wish to comment on whether Peeter Ernits was considered for the post.
EKRE has not set numeric goals for itself in the local government council elections context but plans to set up a list of candidates in all Estonian local governments, Pohlak said on the show.
Support for EKRE has remained unchanged for a long time. Indrek Kiisler asked how the party plans to attract people belonging to other voter groups without changing its rhetoric as the latter suits its core supporters.
Pohlak said there is no silver bullet solution here. "We will try to work to the best of our ability and communicate our messages as clearly and explicitly as possible," he said.
Editor: Marcus Turovski