Pro Patria leader: Vigilance with voting needed, but state budget will pass

Helir-Valdor Seeder. Isamaa volikogul tänavu septembris.
Helir-Valdor Seeder. Isamaa volikogul tänavu septembris. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Isamaa/Pro Patria leader Helir-Valdor Seeder says the coalition government needs to exercise vigilance when voting in the Riigikogu, following the departure of MP Tiina Kangro from the Pro Patria voting bloc on Monday.

Ms. Kangro, who was not a Pro Patria party member but was in its parliamentary group, quit on the issue of clashing world views. The conservative Pro Patria has been in office with fellow coalition minority, but centre-left, Social Democratic Party (SDE) in addition to the majority coalition Centre Party since November 2016. It had previously been in coalition with free market-championing Reform (plus SDE).

Ms. Kangro noted the delicate situation the coalition was now in given it no longer has an overall majority in parliament, with 50 seats out of 101. Centre Party leader and prime minister, Jüri Ratas, was sanguine about the coalition's chances of survival through to the general election in March 2019 and the passing of the state budget.

Departure unsurprising

Unlike Mr. Ratas, however, Helir-Valdor Seeder was unsurprised at Tiina Kangor's withdrawal from his party's group.

''She was a member of the Pro Patria voting group, but not the party, and now she has opted to define herself as an independent,'' Mr. Seeder told ERR on Monday.

''However we [ie the coalition] continue to be in a majority, not a minority, since independents are just that – they do not define themselves as in 'opposition','' Mr. Seeder continued.

''In any case a majority cannot always be achieved; the main thing is to be extra vigilant. The state budget will still pass,'' he said.

''Tiina Kangro said she would essentially not oppose us. She will vote as she sees fit, but there are surely going to be some bills on which we'll vote unanimously,'' he added.

Ms. Kangro's departure follows summer defections by Olga Ivanova (formerly Centre) and former minister Urve Palo (formerly SDE). Ms. Palo says she will continue voting with SDE, however.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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