Isamaa started negotiations with the political parties represented in the Riigikogu to initiate the vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Kaja Kallas.
Helir-Valdor Seeder, the leader of the Isamaa parliamentary group, asked in a letter to the leaders of the other groups that they negotiate a motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform). At least 21 members of parliament are required to sign the motion; of these, eight are from Isamaa and two are formerly MPs from the Center.
"Reform Party members have distanced themselves from the controversy surrounding the prime minister's eastward trade, maintaining that it concerns Kaja Kallas personal matter. However, contrary is the case. The issue of the prime minister's confidence falls within the sphere of responsibility of the Estonian state," Urmas Reinsalu, chair of Isamaa, said in a press release.
"This weekend, however, just one person will compete for the role of Reform Party leader: Kaja Kallas is seeking a new mandate for her party 83 days after the scandal broke. Reform Party members have to assume political responsibility and evaluate the prime minister's actions objectively," Reinsalu said.
Seeder said that the motion of no-confidence must be seen in a broader context: "The impeachment of Kaja Kallas is not only an assessment of her performance as prime minister, but also allows to break the deadlock in Estonian domestic politics and gives the parliamentary parties a chance to exit the political crisis."
Seeder said that Kallas has created a political crisis in Estonia. "The Kaja Kallas government is pursuing anti-economic policies, and the prime minister, who promised to improve her communication, has used unacceptable rhetoric in the last week, mocking teachers bargaining with the government at a government press conference," Seeder said in his letter to the leaders of the other political groups.
"The Riigikogu is debating the 2024 State Budget Act and the accompanying changes to the law, which will only exacerbate the problems. The window of opportunity in Estonia to restore peace in our schools, steer the economy out of the crisis, and help people improve their livelihoods is rapidly closing," he said.
Kiik: Center wants Kaja Kallas to step down
Tanel Kiik, chair of the Center Party's parliamentary group, told ERR on Tuesday that preparations for a no-confidence motion in Kaja Kallas began as early as August, when the scandal details first surfaced.
"Our position was and remains that Prime Minister Kallas must resign," he said. "At the time (August - ed. ), the opposition parties were ready to support it, to go along with it, but the coalition stayed by the current prime minister, which is why we did not make this announcement. So that the prime minister does not receive a vote of confidence instead of a vote of no confidence," the chair of the Center Party group added.
Because a no-confidence motion requires the signatures of 21 Riigikogu members, it is expected that signatures will be collected from all three opposition factions of the Riigikogu, i.e. from EKRE in addition to Isamaa and the Center Party, as was the case in the summer, Kiik recalled.
"It's probably going to be the same way this time, because no opposition party can initiate a no confidence motion on its own," he said. "So we will certainly sit down with the leaders of EKRE and Isamaa."
"First and foremost, the Central Party's board will also discuss the issue tonight, to see what the wider options are for putting pressure on Prime Minister Kaja Kallas to resign," Kiik said, emphasizing the importance of including coalition MPs in the no-confidence move. "We know that the votes of the opposition parties are insufficient. We discussed the necessity to consult the coalition parties and their MPs already in August to find out if they were willing to join this motion."
Kiik referred to the broader societal pressure for the current government and the prime minister to leave office.
"According to the most recent poll, two-thirds of the population, or 68 percent, supporting Prime Minister Kaja Kallas' resignation. In this view, it would seem logical for Kallas to do the same," he said.
Kiik added that the current coalition, in his view, cannot be salvaged.
"It is reasonable for today's coalition partners to state unequivocally that the government has failed to meet people's expectations, including the prime minister's own rhetoric blaming coalition partners for all problems; for example, on the issue of teachers' pay yesterday. We have seen the same tactic in the past in the areas of internal security and other aspects of life. Perhaps we should straighten our backs and show the Reform Party the door," he said.
Editor: Mait Ots, Kristina Kersa