EKRE, Isamaa leaving office spells change of at least five Riigikogu seats

Toompea Castle, seat of the Riigikogu in Tallinn.
Toompea Castle, seat of the Riigikogu in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The change in government means at least five MP seats at the Riigikogu will change hands.

Since the coalition discussions ahead of forming a new administration involve only Reform and the Center Party, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and Isamaa ministers will no longer be in office. This affects two Isamaa MPs and two from EKRE, the fifth MP being Center's, since outgoing prime minister Jüri Ratas is to return to the Riigikogu.

Those who were elected to the Riigikogu in March 2019 will retake their seats, those who were not, will not.

Government ministers do not sit in the Riigikogu, meaning if they win a seat at the elections and then get appointed to a ministerial post, they have to vacate their seats and the next candidate on that party's electoral list who did not win a seat, takes their place.

If a minister returns to the Riigikogu, that "bench-warmer" MP then has to vacate. This procedure happens at other times too, such as when a government minister resigns – as happened with former education minister Mailis Reps (Center), interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE) and environment minister Rene Kokk (EKRE) towards the end of last year.

Jüri Ratas has announced his decision to return to the Riigikogu, meaning Imre Sooäär, the alternate MP, has to step down. Sooäär himself only took up a seat for Center in early December, after Kalev Kallo had had to quit following a judgment imposed during a major corruption case involving the Center Party.

Since Center are remaining in office, it will become clearer which of its MPs will have to vacate their seats once the new lineup of ministers is known. As Reform and Center are sharing the 14 ministerial posts between them (excluding the prime minister, who would be Kaja Kallas), Center will see its number of ministers rise by two, from the current five (Center, EKRE and Isamaa had five ministers each, including Jüri Ratas as prime minister).


Outgoing foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu and outgoing defense minister Jüri Luik will be returning to the Riiikogu, meaning Siim Kiisler and Heiki Hepner must make way for them.

Outgoing culture minister Tõnis Lukas, although he has a Riigikogu mandate, has resigned it. Justice minister Raivo Aeg and population affairs minister Riina Solman did not win Riigikogu seats so will not be going to parliament. Solman was Isamaa's press secretary ahead of the 2019 elections.


Outgoing interior minister Alar Laneman will return to the Riigikogu, meaning Urmas Espenberg must make way for him. Similarly, outgoing finance minister Martin Helme will take the seat vacated by current MP Kai Rimmel.

EKRE's other three ministers, rural affairs (Arvo Aller), environment (Rain Epler) and IT and foreign trade minister Raul Siem will not head to the Riigikogu. Aller ran in the March 2019 general election but did not win a seat and did not become a placeholder MP following ministerial appointments, and Epler and Siem were appointed from the private sector.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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