Reform, Center Riigikogu whips: Coalition will go on

From left, Mart Võrklaev (Reform), host Andres Kuusk and Jaanus Karilaid (Center) on Tuesday's edition of 'e
From left, Mart Võrklaev (Reform), host Andres Kuusk and Jaanus Karilaid (Center) on Tuesday's edition of 'e

The Reform-Center coalition will continue in office, leading MPs from both parties said Tuesday, despite disagreements on a supplementary budget being processed at the Riigikogu and on a bill which would hike family benefits which Center tabled last week.

Appearing on ETV politics head-to-head show "Esimene stuudio" Tuesday night, Center's chief whip Jaanus Karilaid said his party wishes to continue with the current coalition.

The party supports adopting the supplementary budget, issued in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in the form in which it is being processed at parliament, Karilaid said.

He said: "I would like to say that trust has grown between us, because only two or three months ago, the Reform Party said that they would not tie any bills to a vote of confidence."

The government has tied the adoption of the supplementary budget to a vote of confidence, to be held at the Riigikogu on Wednesday. 

"However, now, miracle of miracles, tomorrow (i.e. Wednesday – ed.) we will be tying [the vote to one of confidence in the government]. We have ledged to bind the budget with the confidence vote, and we support the adoption of this budget," Karilaid went on.

We support the adoption of this budget. Seven ministers have contributed to it," Karilaid continued, adding that despite the party's support for the supplementary budget, it does not do enough for ordinary people's living standards.

For this reason, the party tabled the amendments to the Child and Family Benefits Act last week, which Karilaid said he hoped the Reform Party would get behind also.

Since the bill's own draft states that child benefits will not start to rise until February 2023, by the Reform Party's reckoning the issue might be discussed during next year's state budget procedure, Võrklaev said.

The state budget bill is debated starting in autumn.

As to sources of funding for the child benefits hike, Karilaid replied to Võrklaev's question on the matter by saying it would come from a combination of tax receipts and loan money.

A government rift between the two coalition partners emerged last week after the Center Party tabled the bill amending the Child and Family Benefits Act. While 54 MPs signed the bill, none of Reform's 34 deputies were among that figure.

If it passes a vote, the bill will boost monthly child benefits to €100 per child plus €700 per month for those who have between three and six dependent children.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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