Opposition calls for prime minister to dismiss health minister

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Tanel Kiik.
Tanel Kiik. Source: ERR

Opposition parties have called for Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) to dismiss Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) over Estonia's vaccination rollout.

The chairmen of EKRE, Isamaa and the Social Democratic Party met on Monday and issued a joint letter to Kallas.

It called the country's vaccination policy "a series of failures".

"We do not have confidence that Minister Kiik will be able to actually implement the decisions made. We saw the catastrophic results of bad governance in the spring [during the second wave]. Consequently, we request you to dismiss Tanel Kiik, the Minister of Health and Labor," the letter said.

The parties said the prime minister could solve the problem by removing Kiik from office.

Plans for vote of no confidence

On Sunday, ETV's current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported the parties were all behind a motion of no confidence and have met several times to discuss the matter.

EKRE chairman Martin Helme said the last meeting took place on Friday (September 24) and the main complaint against Kiik was discussed. Their concerns stretch beyond Estonia's low vaccination rate.

"There are so many things in his area which are cluttered and poorly organized," Helme said.

Isamaa chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder said some members of the coalition are also interested in the motion.

"Of course, I am not so naive as to think that in a public vote the coalition MPs will publicly support the motion against Tanel Kiik, but it shows... the problem and dissatisfaction exist," Seeder said.

He said both Kiik and Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) need some time to think about the issue. Seeder also said the coalition could find someone else to replace the health minister.

SDE chairman Indrek Saar said on Sunday a date had not yet been set for the motion.

However, the vote could also be held after the upcoming local elections in the second half of October. Helme said this would be to avoid linking the vote to the election.

"If we carry out this motion now, just before the local elections, it may give the impression that we are doing pre-election political agitation and campaigning here and not taking it seriously," Helme said.

Editor's note: This article was updated to add information about Monday's meeting.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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