Helme: EKRE considering boycotting extraordinary Riigikogu sittings

EKRE chair Martin Helme.
EKRE chair Martin Helme. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Martin Helme, chair of the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), said on Monday that it's highly likely that the ruling parties will force the bills tied to a confidence vote through parliament this and next week. EKRE is considering boycotting the extraordinary Riigikogu sittings, and is awaiting a Supreme Court ruling that should be issued late this week or early next.

"The [Reform-Eesti 200-SDE] coalition has 60 votes in parliament, and they are [steam]rolling with that," Helme told ERR. "We'll be doing as much obstruction work of our own as we can manage, as we know how, and as is possible. But I'm sure they'll push those confidence-tied things through."

The EKRE chair called the mass tying of bills to confidence votes a threat to democracy and to the parliamentary system.

"According to our calculations, in all the 30 years since the restoration of Estonia's independence, there have been 11 cases of tying [legislative votes] to confidence [votes] in the Riigikogu," he highlighted. "And now this week and next we're looking at six, seven ties to confidence [votes], meaning nearly 30 years' worth will be done in two weeks. This is yet another example of how our parliament has been effectively silenced and is being placed into hibernation."

Helme, who was reelected EKRE chair on Saturday, also believes that there won't be many extraordinary Riigikogu sittings held this summer. Nonetheless, the party's parliamentary group is considering boycotting them.

"They need to meet quorum at an extraordinary sitting, and we don't want to help them achieve that," he said.

He did note, however, that EKRE is awaiting a Supreme Court decision regarding an appeal submitted by opposition MPs.

On May 25, the Supreme Court of Estonia received an appeal signed by 38 MPs from EKRE, the Center Party and Isamaa seeking the annulment of the Riigikogu's May 15 and 16 decisions with which the Estonian parliament halted the asking of procedural questions regarding the adoption of the agenda as well as the handing over of bills and interpellations.

"If the [Riigikogu's] rules of procedure have been seriously breached, these laws may not be lawfully in proceedings from the start," Helme said. "And if that's the case, then the president must decide whether he will promulgate them or send them back to the Riigikogu. And once the Supreme Court decision — which I believe will come in either at the end of this week or next week — as well as the president's decision are both in, then this will be the next act."

Helme sees no chance of the coalition and opposition reaching a compromise. According to the EKRE leader, the most recent contact between party leaders dates back to two weeks ago, when they last met to discuss the tax package and family benefits.

"But that didn't go anywhere then, because no compromises whatsoever were being made on the government's part," he said. "The opposition proposed several concessions of its own, but no concessions whatsoever came from the other side. And if nothing [is being offered] in return, then there's no point in us continuing to offer our concessions either. I guess they had already decided by then that they want to tie it to a confidence [vote]."


Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Hea lugeja, näeme et kasutate vanemat brauseri versiooni või vähelevinud brauserit.

Parema ja terviklikuma kasutajakogemuse tagamiseks soovitame alla laadida uusim versioon mõnest meie toetatud brauserist: