Center Party whip Jaanus Karilaid refutes claims of a split among Center MPs over family benefits amendments and a potential government collapse.
Daily Eesti Päevaleht (link in Estonian) wrote on Wednesday, based on anonymous sources within the Center Party, that some members are critical of how the party's leaders went about bringing the family benefits debate to the Riigikogu.
"Jaanus (Karilaid – ed.) is dismantling the coalition without any heed. MPs are going along and the atmosphere is far from healthy. Nothing like this has happened for a decade," an anonymous source told the paper.
Karilaid told ERR on Wednesday that Center MPs voiced their continued unity on family benefits during a meeting on the day.
"Not a single MP suggested doing anything differently. When we signed the bill to hike family benefits, we did not do it to bait anyone or mislead society. Everyone knew that by signing they were committing to this thing. We went over those promises today, and the group remains united," he said.
Karilaid said that the Päevaleht piece was based on the anonymous source's wishful thinking and attempt to sow confusion. "But it will not work. We will be taking the bill forward. I hope the Reform Party will get behind it eventually. I made a proposal to PM Kaja Kallas of getting all the party chairmen together and discussing whether the bill could be improved in the coalition council. The initiative has not been seized. But there is still time – the first reading is on Monday."
"It was the Reform leader who said she would resign should the child benefits hike pass. That was the birth of this political narrative or emphasis. Our political call is very simple: add your support or let us improve the bill together."
Karilaid said that following through with family benefits matters to Center and it will not be backing out.
Editor: Marcus Turovski