The opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) will if need be go it alone in filibustering every single bill to reach the Riigikogu, party leader Martin Helme says, with the goal in mind of bringing down the current Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition, via elections on an extraordinary basis.
Before the summer break, EKRE was joined by Isamaa and the Center Party in obstructing the legislative process at the Riigikogu, but according to Helme the new leaders of the other two opposition parties, and the parties themselves, will not be all-in on continuing to do so through the fall and winter.
Extraordinary elections are provided for in the Estonian Constitution, but have never been deployed since that Constitution was drawn up in 1992; regular Riigikogu elections are held every four years.
Appearing on ETV politics show "Esimene stuudio" Thursday, the EKRE leader said his party's goal is extraordinary elections – Riigikogu elections held on an off-schedule basis given that the Reform Party alone has 37 seats at the 101-seat parliament, while the current coalition it is in with Eesti 200 and the Social Democrats (SDE), all sworn political enemies of EKRE, has 60 seats – a particularly healthy majority.
While gaining the upper hand will thus prove challenging, Helme said, it is not impossible, and EKRE has a plan up its sleeve aimed at doing so.
"I'm not about to outline this plan in detail, but its central component revolves around obstruction in the Riigikogu," he went on.
"As a result, the coalition will tire, and when it has no more ability or strength /.../, then at some point, they will crack, and the government will change – and when this government changes, if a successor coalition does not coagulate, we will with each step be moving closer and closer to extraordinary (Helme used the word emergency – ed.) elections."
This will mean some casualties in the shape of those pieces of legislation EKRE does not find objectionable, Helme went on, while the party will be alone in its stance, from the three opposition parties.
"We will be filibustering everything, as our goal is to remove the current government and call for the extraordinary election. Naturally, when the forest is felled the chips fly – there are also those bills that I personally have nothing against, and neither does the party. But that is a part of the plan. The Center Party and Isamaa do not see it this way and think that it eats away at their support," Helme went on.
In any case, not only a new coalition but a new Riigikogu composition is needed to replace the current XV Riigikogu, he went on, as the current legislature is simply not functioning.
"There is no dialogue. That has ended. No dialogue is even sought there. It could however materialize if we get a new composition of the Riigikogu. But with this composition, it is no longer viable. This well has been so poisoned that it is no longer possible to work there, " he went on.
The current government, too, Helme said, is the worst of all time in Estonia, he added, responsible for a declining economy, a botched state budget, a breakdown in social cohesion, and a fall in trust in the state on the part of the populace – in general a sort of reverse Midas touch.
Its only strong point is in propaganda, he added.
Nonetheless, EKRE stands alone now and no longer has Center or Isamaa backing; both parties recently changed their leadership.
"It could be said that there are some bills which the Center Party and Isamaa are willing to obstruct, but not on a broad front. My assessment is that they don't have the nerve to hold on. They are afraid that this will not find public support," he added.
Even the resignation of Kaja Kallas (Reform) as prime minister would not assuage Helme, who added that the current coalition, as it is implementing an "illegitimate" policy, makes no odds whether it is headed by Kallas, or Finance Minister Mart Võrklaev (Reform), or Climate Minister Kristen Michal (Reform), or Riigikogu Speaker Lauri Hussar (Eesti 200).
Come what may, Helme said that he sees no way for the Reform Party at least to be able to cling on to power through to the end of the election cycle, ie. the three-and-a-half years until the March 2027 elections.
Reform reentered office in January 2021 and has been in coalition with Center, then Isamaa and SDE, and now Eesti 200 and SDE, since that time, with Kallas at the helm.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming
Source: 'Esimene stuudio,' interviewer Mirko Ojakivi