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Kallas: Stripping Russian citizens' voting rights needs constitutional amendment

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) in the Session Hall of the Riigikogu.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) in the Session Hall of the Riigikogu. Source: Erik Peinar/Chancellery of the Riigikogu

Revoking the voting rights of Russian and Belarusian citizens resident in Estonia will take longer than previously anticipated, since it will require a constitutional amendment, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said Wednesday, as reported by daily Postimees.

Kallas was responding to a question from Riina Solman (Isamaa), who asked about delays in stripping Russian and Belarusian citizens of their right to vote in local elections in Estonia, for as long as those countries remain aggressor nations in Ukraine.

The prime minister said that on entering office, the Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition's intention was to expedite this, in a manner akin to the temporary suspension of voting rights given to prison inmates, this "so-called quick solution ... could come into effect before the local government elections in 2025."

However, "Now, both the president and the chancellor of justice are saying that it cannot be done without amending the Constitution," Kallas added, and said that a Ministry of Justice analysis will follow on this point, keeping in mind that constitutional amendments can be made with "a very large majority, or with votes at two successive [Riigikogu] compositions."

Foreign nationals with permanent residency in Estonia can vote in local elections, while EU nationals can vote in the EU elections too. The franchise at Riigikogu elections is restricted to citizens only.

The next local elections in Estonia take place in October 2025.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Postimees

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