Isamaa calls for incoming coalition to address demographic crisis

The de facto opposition Isamaa party used an extended board meeting held Saturday to call on the next government to address the demographic crisis in Estonia, to foster legislative stability and to forge ahead with the transition to Estonian-only education.

The party issued a statement at the meeting, held at the theater and music house in Paide, a central location, that: "The responsibility of the heads of state is to maintain the faith of the Estonian people in their homeland, and this is one of the most important tasks of the new government."

"The duty involves tearing open old wounds on non-controversial issues, because every rift in society is a weapon to the propaganda machine of our eastern neighbor and a threat to internal security."

"This responsibility lies beyond the boundaries of political parties or opposition-coalition," the party said.

Isamaa stated at the board meeting, its first since the March 5 Riigikogu election, that it needs to be clear to the Estonian people that not every dispute on Toompea, home of the Riigikogu and the nearby Stenbock House, needs to be followed by renegotiating agreements already concluded, adding that legislative continuity would help families and businesses to flourish, and for people to make the "right choices" when saving for retirement.

Isamaa also reiterated its calls for pressing on with the transition to Estonian-only education, from kindergarten level onwards, to listen to defense leaders and to strip Russian and Belarusian citizens resident in Estonia of their right to vote in the local elections.

A lower price cap on Russian crude oil than the current US$60 per barrel, harsher punishment for convicted war criminals and ways to utilize frozen Russian assets were also recapitulated as Isamaa policy aims.

A larger proportion of the Isamaa extended board members attended the meeting via remote online linkup.

Other developments included outgoing Minister of Education Tõnis Lukas' announcement that he would be stepping down as deputy chair of Isamaa, due to the fact that the party did not pick up a district mandate in Tartu City – Lukas is manager of the party's Tartu region.

Helir-Valdor Seeder reiterated comments he had made earlier in the week that the party had suffered from its association with Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), with whom it had been in office until January 2021, while Marja-Liisa Veiser, a member of the party's Ida-Viru region board, called for more young people to get involved in the party.

Isamaa's seat tally went down from 12, to eight, after the March 5 election, making it the smallest party by Riigikogu representation – previously it had had more seats than the Social Democrats (SDE).

One central policy the party got into the coalition agreement signed with Center and EKRE in April 2019 – and which became reality – was the liberalization of the Estonian pension system.

This allowed members of the so-called second pillar of the scheme, referring to employer/employee contributions, to opt out and to cash out on all accrued pension funds they had up to that point.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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