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Opposition's no-confidence vote fails, justice minister to continue

Urmas Reinsalu.
Urmas Reinsalu. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

The opposition's motion of no confidence against Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu (IRL) failed. The motion was submitted by the Reform Party, the Free Party, and the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE). Most of the Social Democrats' MPs made a tactical move and didn't vote.

Altogether 46 members of the Riigikogu voted in favor of the motion, none voted against. There were 35 abstentions. 81 of 101 members were present.

The opposition's motion followed Reinsalu's statement last week that he regrets having condemned violence against women.

Reinsalu made the statement following the public debate around the choice of the NO99 theatre and director Tiit Ojasoo for the cultural part of this year's Independence Day reception. Ojasoo made headlines in 2016 when it became public that he had shoved a female colleague into the snow, and kicked her twice in the stomach and thighs.

The victim went to the police at the time, but the matter was eventually settled between the parties already before it became public. Ojasoo at the time said that he was sorry, and followed the actions he was required to take in accordance with the compromise agreement he and the victim had signed. The investigation against him for assault was canceled.

After the Office of the President's choice of NO99 and Ojasoo to stage the cultural part of the centennial Independence Day reception on Feb. 24, and that the theatre would receive some €300,000 for it, 104 signatories sent a letter to President Kersti Kaljulaid expressing their disappointment in the choice, and pointing out that it sent the wrong signal.

President Kaljulaid backed the decision to commission the work from NO99, and pointed to any society's need for forgiveness, saying that Ojasoo had repented and apologized.

Several personalities in Estonia's culture and entertainment industry disagreed following the president's statement, pointing to other incidents where Ojasoo had lost his temper and bullied others, and saying that his apology in summer 2016 hadn't been genuine. The debate around whether or not he should be involved in the Estonian centennial continues.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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