MPs Hanno Pevkur (Reform) and Helir-Valdor Seeder (Isamaa) have been elected deputy Riigikogu speakers after off-schedule elections prompted by a deal struck between Reform and Center in their coalition talks last month.
Seeder is retaining his post for the mean time, having already been deputy speaker since April 2019, while Pevkur replaces Siim Kallas (Reform) who announced he was stepping down at the end of January, prompting the elections (see gallery below).
Pevkur received 60 votes and is first deputy speaker, Seeder, who is also leader of the opposition Isamaa party, will be second deputy speaker, having polled 40 votes at the 101-seat Riigikogu.
Elections to the post of speaker are usually held every March. This year, incumbent Henn Põlluaas (EKRE) will step down, while former prime minister Jüri Ratas (Center) will ascend to the role, a deal which was struck in January's Reform-Center coalition talks following Ratas' resignation as premier and with an agreement that the first deputy speaker would be from the Reform Party. The second deputy speaker is occupied by an opposition MP, i.e. Seeder switches from first deputy to second, following Isamaa's exit from office after the collapse of the coalition in January.
The post, properly termed President of the Riigikogu, is seen as second in the land after President of the Republic.
However, a regular election to the Riigkogu board is due to still take place in mid-March, in which case Seeder would hand over the post to Martin Helme, chair of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), having agreed to relinquish the role already.
Editor: Andrew Whyte