Seeder: Rules and procedures need to be amended if obstruction continues
Chairman of junior coalition partner Isamaa Helir-Valdor Seeder told a special episode of ERR's "Otse uudistemajast" webcast that if it proves impossible to convince the opposition to drop stalling tactics, amending the Riigikogu Rules and Procedures Act needs to be considered.
Host Toomas Sildam asked Seeder whether he finds asking the people if marriage needs to remain a union between a man and a woman is pointless.
"A lot of European countries have held referendums on the topic of marriage. It has been important to people everywhere and Estonia is no exception. We have no reason to halt the marriage referendum or the work of the Riigikogu," Seeder said.
Sildam pointed out that no one is looking to challenge marriage being between a man and a woman in Estonia.
Seeder said the matter goes beyond that and that a referendum should have been held back when the Registered Partnership Act was passed.
He emphasized that the referendum is no obstacle in terms of addressing extraordinary problems Estonia faces, such as the coronavirus, difficult economic situation etc. "The parliament needs to maintain its normal work and rhythm."
The Isamaa chairman said that the question of same-sex marriage was not created by the coalition and is a much longer-standing problem. Seeder added that as a politician, people saying "no" to the referendum question would also give him a clear signal of how to proceed.
Asked what will happen with the bill now that the opposition has vowed to bury it under thousands of motions to amend, Seeder said that talks need to be held between the coalition and opposition. If that fails, amending the Riigikogu Rules and Procedures Act needs to be considered.
"It is not a good solution, while we need to think ahead here. If this kind of obstruction becomes commonplace, it is something to be considered," Seeder said.
The fact Isamaa MPs Siim Kiisler, Viktoria Ladõnskaja-Kubits and Üllar Saaremäe voted against the bill demonstrates that Isamaa is democratic, the chairman suggested.
Sildam also asked Seeder what Isamaa's Parempoolsed (Right-wingers) group is after. "It remains unclear to me. Several statements they have made clash with principles approved by the party's managing committee, council and general assembly," he said.
The chairman said that he does not measure Isamaa's success looking at the polls, adding that it is important to have a moderate national conservative force next to the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) in Estonia.
Seeder did not place great hopes on the coalition managing to pick a common presidential candidate. "It is very difficult, while I would not rule it out completely," he said.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski