Isamaa MP resistance endangers health of coalition and marriage referendum

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Viktoria Ladõnskaja-Kubitsa and Üllar Saaremäe have added social media frames to their profile which say "As an Isamaa-ite I say to the marriage referendum: 'No'". Source: Social Media

Three members of coalition party Isamaa's political group in Riigikogu have promised to vote against the planned marriage referendum. If there were to be more coalition votes dropping off, both the coalition and referendum would be in jeopardy.

"Isamaalasena ütlen abielureferendumile EI" ("As an Isamaa-ite I say to the marriage referendum: 'No'"). This sentence was added as a badge to the social media profile pictures of three MPs Siim Kiisler, Viktoria Ladõnskaja-Kubits and Üllar Saaremäe of the coalition Isamaa Party on Saturday.

If Saaremäe, Kiisler, Ladõnskaja-Kubits and perhaps even Mihhail Lotman, who has also joined the Parempoolsed (Right-wingers) group within Isamaa, were to vote against the referendum in Riigikogu, the coalition would lose four votes, leaving them with 51.

One more dropped vote would mean losing the majority and the referendum question.

Saaremäe said a referendum on the definition of marriage should not be the most important thing during a health and economic crisis. He added that he would vote against holding the referendum if it came down to it in the Riigikogu, adding that it is still unclear if the referendum would be legally binding or not.

He also doubts the goal of the vote itself: "We have the Family Law Act and part one, chapter one, paragraph one, states that a marriage is contracted between a man and a woman. Noone has questioned that. What we want to know is what this (the referendum - ed.) is exactly and why we need it."

Anti Poolamets (EKRE), chairman of the Riigikogu's constitutional committee, reminded everyone that the current coalition of Center, EKRE and Isamaa went through with the latter's main electoral promise agreed to in the coalition agreement.

"But now, when their dear promise has been put into force by coalition partners and they have also stated a similar promise as EKRE's - that the cohabitation act and marriage will be discussed further - they drop off. It is misleading your own party, the coalition and your voters," Poolamets said.

The constitutional committee chairman added that the promise to conduct a referendum on the definition of marriage is clearly fixated in the coalition agreement (page 30 - ed.). "There is a question mark hovering over the coalition's actions if this contract is not seen through. It will then be discussed if we can continue on like this," Poolamets noted.

The first reading of the marriage referendum bill will take place in the Riigikogu on December 14.

Sooäär adds one more vote to anti-referendum camp in Riigikogu

It was announced on Monday morning that MP Imre Sooäär is first in line to get the seat in the Estonian parliament left vacant by Center Party MP Kalev Kallo, whose conviction for corruption crimes has become final now that the Supreme Court has rejected appeals by both the prosecution and the defense.   

Sooäär assuming a seat as an alternate legislator from the Center Party in the parliament would strengthen the camp opposed to the pending referendum on the definition of marriage by one more vote. 

"My views shouldn't be a secret to anyone, I was one of the initiators of the Registered Partnership Act," Sooäär told BNS on Monday. "And I definitely do not support the marriage referendum in the form that is currently known," he said.

Sooäär also told BNS on Monday that the board of the Riigikogu made a routine decision as he indeed is the alternate MP for Kallo.

"But I have not conclusively decided yet whether I'll go. I will make that decision during the course of the day," Sooäär said around noon on Monday. 

Should Sooäär skip the appointment, the next alternate member for the seat left vacant by Kallo is Tiit Terik, currently chairman of the council of Tallinn. The next in line after Terik is Jaan Toots.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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