Leading MPs find EKRE extraordinary elections bid unrealistic

The Riigikogu in Tallinn.
The Riigikogu in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Representatives of some of the elected Riigikogu parties, including those from the opposition, say they do not consider realistic a call by Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) leader Martin Helme for Riigikogu elections on an extraordinary basis.

Helme said this week that this is his party's ultimate goal, to be achieved via filibustering of all coalition bills to be put to the Riigikogu, and with EKRE acting alone, and without the other two opposition parties, Isamaa and the Center Party.

While provided for in the Constitution, an extraordinary Riigikogu election has never been held since Estonia's independence was restored in 1991, and elections take place every four years, in March.

Veteran Reform Party MP Jürgen Ligi said that even if extraordinary elections were to be held, there would be little time left to organize them.

"In this case, the consequences of such elections would be very sad, as it is not feasible to come up with honest electoral programs during this time; these would promise even more than in the case of local elections, in order to mobilize voters rapidly, while between these elections (ie. until the next scheduled election to the Riigikogu in 2027 – ed.), no lasting decisions can get made. So what the constitution allows for is intentionally written in there, so that such chaos of that nature does not occur," he went on.

Jürgen Ligi (Reform). Source: Kairit Leibold/ERR

A subsequent extraordinary election may follow an initial one, according to Ligi.

ERR reports that The Constitution provides four options for the calling of Riigikogu elections on an extraordinary basis.

First, the head of state will call an election on this basis if there are several prime ministerial candidates all at once and a viable coalition cannot be formed.

Second, if a government which had a motion of no-confidence pass against it at the Riigikogu proposes such elections.

The third case comes, if a referendum bill put to the people falls through, and the fourth occurs if the Riigikogu has not adopted the state budget by March of the year it pertains to (usually it is adopted by the end of the preceding year).

Center's Riigikogu chief whip Tanel Kiik said that he saw no realistic scope for off-schedule elections, even as the current coalition is not adequately addressing the major issues facing the country; Mart Helme, EKRE's leader, states that it is a non-functioning Riigikogu which necessitates the off-schedule elections he says his party will be pushing for.

Isamaa leader Urmas Reinsalu meanwhile says that so long as the governing Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition remains united, extraordinary elections are not realistic.

Eesti 200 MP and chair of the Riigikogu constitutional committee Hendrik Johannes Terras told ERR that the coalition will indeed remain unified.

"When you have difficult times, you have to make difficult decisions and decisions are made together and we hope to come out of here as strong as possible," Terras he told ERR Friday.

Speaking to ETV politics head-to-head show "Esimene stuudio" Thursday, Helme said: "I'm not about to outline this plan in detail, but its central component revolves around obstruction in the Riigikogu."

EKRE leader Martin Helme with Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

"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 emergency elections," he added.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming.

Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera,' reporter Anne Raiste.

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