Isamaa chair: Weakest in society must not suffer due to governmental steps

Helir-Valdor Seeder (Isamaa).
Helir-Valdor Seeder (Isamaa). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition is rushing too much with its planned legal changes, opposition party Isamaa's chair Helir-Valdor Seeder says.

Speaking at a party board meeting Saturday,  Seeder said the weakest members of society are suffering as a result of the government's actions.

"Cutting family allowances, hiking taxes and [instituting] same-sex marriage are all laws which the coalition wants to pass in the next six weeks, while by the way two of these bills have not yet been sent to the Riigikogu," Seeder said during his speech before the board.

"All this makes for a mindless rush, one which leaves no time for social or political discussion," he went on.

"Isamaa does not consider the planned changes to legislation to be reasonable or required, though we are ready to sit down at the negotiating table in order to avoid a parliamentary crisis. The weakest and most in need of help in our society must not suffer as a result of the government's actions," Seeder, whose party was in office with Reform and the Social Democrats (SDE) until last month, went on.

The Family Allowances Bill which the new coalition wants to overturn was an Isamaa-sponsored law and only passed at the Riigikogu in January.

The Riigikogu is set to hold the family allowance bill's first reading (of three) on Monday, an event which Isamaa is greeting by holding a demonstration in front of Toompea castle, seat of the Riigikogu, ahead of the session.

Representatives of families with children from all over Estonia are to take part in the demonstration, ERR reports.

"The society of Estonian families with children (Eesti Lasterikaste Perede Liit) has collected more than 20,000 signatures in a week, opposing the government's recalcitrant policy. In a situation where Estonia is being hit by the worst demographic crisis of the century, it is unacceptable that the new coalition is to take as its first step the reduction of the sense of security of our families, canceling the unanimous opposition of all political parties at the XIV Riigikogu in January, when it adopted the Family Allowances Act," Seeder said.

"Half of all Estonian children grow up in large families, but all of those families with children will suffer from the legislative amendments pushed through by the coalition, since, among other things, the current additional income tax exemption system, which applies from the second child onward, will be altered.

By coming to the demonstration, these families will be able to give the coalition MPs the clear message that their planned steps are a threat to the Estonian state, for the future, and for the survival of our nation," the Isamaa leader went on.

The Isamaa board also confirmed Saturday that the party's annual general meeting is to be held on June 10, at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds (Lauluväljak).  The party chair and leadership will be elected for the next two years, at this meeting.

Isamaa now has eight Riigikogu seats, down from the 12 it held at the XIV Riigikogu, 2019-2023.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael

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