Social Democrats file competing government no-confidence motion

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SDE leader Indrek Saar. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The Social Democratic Party (SDE) has said it will not be joining the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and will introduce its own text.

"Prime Minister Kaja Kallas offers Estonia a path that is not in the interests of our country and people. Kallas' government has lost the trust of the undersigned," the Social Democrats' motion reads.

Even though SDE is not part of the ruling coalition, the party supported giving Kallas the reins on January 25. "We expected the Reform Party and Center Party coalition to reduce inequality that has run rampant during the crisis and decisively combat political corruption that erodes people's trust in politics and political parties. Kaja Kallas also promised an environmentally conscious turn in public administration. This trust has disappeared by now. The PM and her cabinet have shown disregard and utterly failed to live up to expectations," SDE leader Indrek Saar wrote in a press release on Sunday.

The Social Democrats are mainly critical of Kallas' austerity policy that they find directly harms development. "These outdated cutbacks can only manufacture new injustice and inequality and hamper the prosperity and outlook of a lot of people," the no-confidence motion reads.

The document concentrates on plans to dial back local governments' hobby education funding that SDE finds will rob thousands of children of the chance to pursue a hobby. "This step will cause more children to suffer from deprivation and social exclusion. It will render Estonia poorer and undermine local governments' trust in their central counterpart," the party writes.

SDE also find that the PM is creating antagonism between the private and public sectors and point to the need of finding additional revenue for the state. "We cannot agree to schoolchildren, teachers, policemen, rescue workers and caregivers being saddled with responsibility for the consequences of the crisis. Our education, culture, healthcare, social welfare, internal security and armed forces need additional resources, not endless austerity. The state is a whole, and we need everyone for society to function. To make sure Estonia does not continue to wither and for the ability to exit not just the current but also future crises, we need instead to look for new revenue," the document reads.

SDE also criticizes the government's lackluster anti-corruption efforts. "The previous government's collapse centered around yet another Center Party corruption scandal. The new government took office to the tune of Kaja Kallas' promise to address political corruption as the first thing. After five months in office, the government has proposed a few cosmetic amendments and rejected all proposals that would help effectively contain corruption. The PM is responsible for the government lacking willingness to effectively tackle corruption."

Finally, SDE is also critical of the government's climate and energy policy. "The government has also completely failed in its climate and energy policy. Instead of the promised green turn, the government is steaming ahead with [Eesti Energia's] environmentally damaging and hugely expensive oil plant project the economic feasibility of which is questionable at best. What is more, the government wants to classify forest data and has done nothing to curb the burning of wood in the Narva Power Plants, instead, we are seeing proposals that might increase felling volumes by leaps and bounds. All of it is irresponsible from the point of view of the Estonian environment and future and leading us away from meeting climate targets."

EKRE have also promised to file a no-confidence motion against the Kallas administration, while SDE said they would not be joining the former as it includes "a good measure of malarkey and lies about a police and deep state."

EKRE chair Martin Helme said last week that he hopes opposition Isamaa and SDE MPs will support EKRE's motion.

A motion of no confidence requires at least 21 votes to be registered. EKRE have 19, Isamaa 12 and SDE 11 seats in the Riigikogu.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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