The chairman of the Social Democrats, Jevgeni Ossinovski, said on Monday evening that his party's group in the Riigikogu won't participate in a vote of no confidence against Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu (IRL). They had hoped Reinsalu would resign, he added.
While Ossinovski said earlier on Monday that the party wouldn't back the opposition's move against Reinsalu, several members of its parliamentary group, including chairwoman Heljo Pikhov, said they wanted Reinsalu out.
A meeting of the Social Democrats' extended leadership is planned for tomorrow Wednesday, where Ossinovski will try to reconciliate personal opinions with the interests of the party in a stable and continuing government with the Center Party and Reinsalu's party, the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL).
Reinsalu faced massive criticism after he said that he "regrets" having condemned violence against women in connection with the case of Tiit Ojasoo, director at the NO99 theatre, who in January 2016 assaulted a coworker.
Ojasoo shoved a woman colleague of his into a snowdrift, and kicked her twice in the stomach and thighs when she was down. Because the victim didn't want to press charges, the matter was resolved with a compromise agreement.
Though Ojasoo offered an apology at the time, many felt that it wasn't quite heartfelt enough to allow him to take on the culture part of the planned centennial reception to be hosted by President Kersti Kaljulaid on Feb. 24 at the Estonian National Museum in Tartu. Letting him do so would send the wrong signal, especially as he would play an important role in Estonia's centennial celebrations. The president backed Ojasoo.
Reinsalu's statement followed the renewed debate about Ojasoo's assault and its consequences, or lack thereof. The Reform Party has announced a motion of no confidence against him based on his "unacceptable" statement. So far, the Free Party along with individual MPs out of other parties have expressed their support. The third opposition party, EKRE, will meet with Reinsalu later today before they make a decision.
Social Democratic MP Hannes Hanso has announced that he will participate in the vote, and that he will vote in favor of ousting Reinsalu as well. Ossinovski commented this on Monday, saying that Hanso was free to do so, but that he would be the only MP of the party to take part in the vote.
Editor: Dario Cavegn