Opposition's no confidence vote against Prime Minister Kaja Kallas fails

Extraordinary plenary session of the Riigikogu.
Extraordinary plenary session of the Riigikogu. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

A vote of no confidence lodged by the opposition parties against Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) failed on Tuesday. Fifty-seven MPs voted against the measure and 34 voted in favor.

The motion was submitted by Isamaa Chairman Urmas Reinsalu on behalf of the opposition parties Isamaa, EKRE, and Center. It was always likely to fail as the coalition has a majority.

Tanel Kiik (Center), who represented the initiators of the no-confidence motion, said the coalition parties Reform, Eesti 200, and SDE are implementing short-sighted and will leave families worse off.

"The government is steering the country in completely the wrong direction and is exacerbating the demographic, economic and confidence crisis," he said, in a statement published by the Riigikogu after the vote.

He highlighted the extraordinary Riigikogu session that started on Monday and ended on Tuesday, saying the policies were hastily pushed through and their long-term effects have not been evaluated.

Tanel Kiik in the Riigikogu. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The opposition's no-confidence motion was based on four points. They claimed the government's actions are exacerbating the population crisis, the government lacks the authority to raise taxes, the prime minister's remarks comparing the opposition to dictatorships are unacceptable, and the coalition is attempting to shut down parliament.

He said much of the legislation related to taxes, family benefits, and same-sex marriage legalization had not been included in the parties' manifestos before the election and so the coalition does not have a mandate to implement these changes.

After the vote, Kallas thanked Riigikogu members and said the government wants to close the deficit.

"Persistent budget deficits are not sustainable, leaving your children in debt is not sustainable," she said, in a statement after the vote. 

Kallas pushed back on criticism that economic reforms were not part of her party's election program and said raising taxes is not popular, but it cannot be postponed.

Extraordinary plenary session of the Riigikogu. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

She added, that while family benefits have been reduced, they are still higher than they were.

The prime minister said same-sex marriage was not a promise put forward by Reform before the election, but that Eesti 200 and SDE pushed for it during coalition negotiations. Their arguments were listened to and it was decided to resolve the issue once and for all.

Kallas said according to Estonia's constitution, the Riigikogu adopts legislation with a majority.

"This means you must have a majority. It means that the majority decides in a democracy," Kallas said. 

The Prime Minister emphasized that the government will not link any further draft to confidence motions if the opposition does not obstruct legislation in the future.

The Riigikogu will now break for the summer and reconvene in September.


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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Helen Wright

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