Ratas confirms Center submitting him as deputy Riigikogu speaker candidate
The Center Party is putting forward its chair, Jüri Ratas, for the position of deputy Riigikogu speaker, Ratas told ERR on Thursday.
Ratas has been sitting Riigikogu speaker – more properly, the President of the Riigikogu – since spring 2021, while the position is aided by two deputies.
Ratas told ERR that since he has performed in both roles, he knows the ropes sufficiently to do the job, while it is down to the Riigikogu itself to decide who gets the positions.
Ratas noted that in theory, the coalition parties – Reform, Eesti 200 and the Social Democrats (subject to a coalition deal still to be signed) – could provide both deputy speakers as well as the speaker, but this was not likely.
Traditionally, the second deputy speaker has come from an opposition party.
The Reform-Eesti 200-SDE alliance will have 60 seats, and therefore 60 votes, at the 101-seat Riigikogu, a very healthy majority.
At the same time, there is no real reason for that coalition to bar one of the deputy speakers from coming from one of the opposition parties: Center, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and Isamaa.
The opposition parties by their statements so far, despite having been in office 2019-2021, do not seem likely to form a monolithic bloc, at least early on in the XV Riigikogu's life-span.
Ratas himself says that no agreement has been reached among the three parties yet.
However, Isamaa leader Helir-Valdor Seeder says a "preliminary position" is in place, but at the same time, his party has not formulated its final stance.
"Just as in the case of the coalition agreement, unless everything is agreed upon, nothing is agreed upon," Seeder told ERR.
Seeder noted that, traditionally at least, two Riigikogu committee chairs, 12 committee deputy chairs, and some seats on various committees and delegations appointed by parliament.
Ratas meanwhile said that talks should go on between his party and Isamaa and EKRE; Seeder said that the final allocation of speaker, committee etc. posts noted above will materialize after the coalition agreement is inked – likely to be within the first two weeks of next month.
Despite having only eight seats now, Isamaa is still in its familiar situation of playing kingmaker, by making up the balance – though this time in the smaller, 41-seat opposition and not the coalition.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Aleksander Krjukov