Opposition baffled by Reform Party obstruction plan

SDE leader Lauri Läänemets.
SDE leader Lauri Läänemets. Source: Patrik Tamm / ERR

Opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) leader Lauri Läänemets said that the Reform Party's plan of filibustering the Family Benefits Act bill suggests the government has all but closed shop. Conservative People's Party (EKRE) deputy whip Rene Kokk said he does not understand how Reform can oppose support for Estonian families.

"The government of the Reform Party and Center Party has de facto ceased to exist which both parties could find the courage to admit," Läänemets told ERR.

"No matter what happens with the child benefits bill, this government is no longer able to steer Estonia through the hard times coming this fall. An ineffective coalition is just as big of a security threat than EKRE in the government with their statements that undermine allied relations," he said.

Läänemets described Reform Party's possible obstruction of its coalition partner's initiative as unheard-of. "It would come as another sign that there is no more coalition. It is also very dangerous as it would add to the rift between Reform and Isamaa that prioritizes child benefits," Läänemets offered.

"At the same time, the prime minister's party would force Center, EKRE and Isamaa to work together for days in a situation where they should be preventing a potential coalition of the three."

"The first reading of the bill to hike family and child benefits will not dismantle the coalition because it has already fallen apart. The more relevant question is what will happen after June 9 when the bill is scheduled to be passed. While change seems to be hardcoded into the process, neither Kaja Kallas nor Jüri Ratas (Center leader - ed.) appear to be in charge. No one knows what will happen to the Estonian government," the SDE chairman added.

Deputy whip of opposition leader EKRE Rene Kokk wrote on social media that he is baffled by Reform's opposition to the bill.

"The PM is threatening to resign should the bill be passed and is urging her coalition partner to "man up" and bring a vote of no confidence," Kokk said.

"I believe everyone still remembers how the opposition was simply steamrolled in the supplementary budget bill process, with MPs given mere seconds to process proposals to amend and members of the government, reluctant to seriously discuss proposals, tying the bill to a government confidence vote," he added.

"Allow me to make a friendly suggestion of tying the family benefits bill to a government confidence vote in turn. I hope that a considerable part of the opposition will back Center and vote in favor of the benefits hike. For my part, I will support a vote of no confidence as I want the bill to remain in proceedings and be passed to benefit our families. Families with children need additional support from the state," Kokk remarked.

In fact, the family benefits bill cannot be tied to a government confidence vote because it was entered into proceedings by MPs and not the government.

The first reading of the controversial bill is scheduled for Monday.

Reform Party leader, PM Kaja Kallas said on Thursday that it is not out of the question Reform MPs will use obstruction tactics to block the bill.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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