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Vote of no confidence against Sester fails in Riigikogu

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A vote of no confidence against Minister of Finance Sven Sester (IRL) failed on June 1, 2017.
A vote of no confidence against Minister of Finance Sven Sester (IRL) failed on June 1, 2017. Source: (Riigikogu)

A vote of no confidence held against Minister of Finance Sven Sester (IRL) in the Riigikogu on Thursday afternoon failed, with 42 MPs voting in favor of the no-confidence motion and 52 MPs against it, with no abstentions.

The Riigikogu opposition, consisting of the Reform Party, the Free Party and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) submitted a no-confidence motion against Minister of Finance Sven Sester (IRL) to the Board of the Riigikogu on Thursday morning.

Reform Party chairman Hanno Pevkur noted when submitting the motion that with the government's support, Sester has begun bringing bills before the Riigikogu that conflict with current laws and weaken the state's economic situation.

"We are submitting a motion of no confidence with 45 signatures against Sven Sester," he said.

Pevkur noted that Sester's economic policy-related steps have been sharply criticized by Economic Adviser to the President Heido Vistur, Bank of Estonia President Ardo Hansson, Fiscal Council member Urmas Varblane, banking analysts as well as 21 business organizations who have published a joint appeal.

"Minister of Finance Sven Sester has with his activity weakened the state's fiscal position and sustainability as well as Estonia's prospects for economic development," said Pekvur. "He lacks principles which would keep fiscal policy responsible and tax policy predictable. The policy being driven by the government and Sester will bring with it living beyond one's means. The Minister of Finance cannot simply carry out the coalition's orders, but must stand for responsible financial policy."

The motion of no confidence claims that as Minister of Finance, Sester has not stood in the government for responsible budget policy, but rather been involved in producing sources of financial cover for endless spending needs.

"Hi actions in enabling the violation of budgetary rules have earned the unanimous criticism of experts," stated the motion. "Instead of seeking responsible solutions, the Minister of Finance submits monetarily and economically inadequate proposals.

The opposition also reproached Sester for initiating the cancellation of the structural balance rule imposed due to economic crisis experiences, justifying it as a measure to enliven the economy, contrary to criticism from the Bank of Estonia and Fiscal Council that this move would negatively affect economic growth.

"The Minister of Finance as a member of the Cabinet must ensure Estonia's financial sustainability and a competitive economic environment," found the signatories of the no-confidence motion. "Minister of Finance Sven Sester cannot cope with these tasks and he cannot be trusted in this position."

Reform Party, Free Party and EKRE parliamentary group leaders decided on Monday to begin gathering signatures in support of a no-confidence motion against Sester.

21 votes are needed to initiate an expression of no confidence in the Riigikogu and 51 votes are needed for a vote of no confidence against a minister.

The Reform Party currently has 30 seats, the Free Party eight seats and EKRE seven seats in the Riigikogu.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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