Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu (IRL) appeared in ERR's Aktuaalne kaamera newscast on Wednesday evening after a failed attempt by the opposition to remove him from office. The coalition is stronger than before, not split as the opposition suggests, Reinsalu said.
"I believe that this government coalition is stronger psychologically, not weaker, after today's debate," Reinsalu said on the evening news program of ETV.
"I believe that this government is psychologically stronger after today's debate, not weaker," Reinsalu said, adding that the coalition's ability to agree on a coordinated course of action was a sign of strength.
In the vote of no confidence against Reinsalu introduced by the opposition Reform Party, Free Party, and Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) the coalition decided not to vote at all. Apart from Social Democratic MP Hannes Hanso, all three coalition partners' MPs abstained, leading to only 46 votes in favor of the motion with 81 members participating.
For the motion to succeed, the opposition parties would have needed 51 out of the Riigikogu's 101 votes to back it.
After Center Party MP Oudekki Loone's decision not to vote to oust Reinsalu, the opposition actually had one less vote on its side than signatures on the motion it submitted.
Before the vote Reinsalu once again published an apology for his earlier statement, in which he had said that he "regrets having condemned violence against women" in connection with the case of NO99 director Tiit Ojasoo (ERR News reported).
EKRE: Reinsalu deliberately caused scandal to distract from president
Among the statements of the parliamentary groups leading up to the vote was that of EKRE's Martin Helme, who once again criticized both Reinsalu's party, the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL), and the Social Democrats.
Reinsalu chose his words very deliberately, Helme said. The noise the minister made serves to drown out the fact that the real issue at hand is the choice of President Kersti Kaljulaid of NO99 and Tiit Ojasoo for the cultural part of the Independence Day reception in Estonia's centennial year, and that it is really the president who made a decision that shows little appreciation of the issue of violence against women.
Though President Kaljulaid isn't a party member, she did belong to one of IRL's precursors in the early 2000s, which is why EKRE have repeatedly placed her in the political camp and company of the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union.
Helme also criticized the Social Democrats, who at that point had annonced their tactical decision not to vote. After years and years of working the issue as part of their political platforms, the Social Democrats suddenly were nowhere to be seen, he pointed out.
Editor: Dario Cavegn