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Samost, Sildam predict parliamentary groups' stances on UN migration pact

Anvar Samost and Toomas Sildam.
Anvar Samost and Toomas Sildam. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Speaking on the Vikerraadio broadcast "Samost and Sildam," journalists Anvar Samost and Toomas Sildam said that when it comes to the Riigikogu discussion regarding the UN Global Compact on Migration scheduled to begin at 10:00 EET on Monday, the positions of the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and coalition Pro Patria (Isamaa) are easiest to predict. The opposition Reform, however, is currently harder to pin down.

According to Samost, EKRE's position on the matter is easiest to predict, as the party is unequivocally clear in being against Estonia joining the migration compact. EKRE is organising a protest on Toompea Hill on Monday morning, which Samost believed might prove quite popular, in turn thrusting the issue into a more emotional context.

"In terms of EKRE's votes, I am thoroughly convinced that they will take a tactical approach and vote however necessary to stop Estonia from joining the migration compact," he said.

It can be expected that the opposition Free Party will vote to prevent Estonia from joining the migration compact, but how exactly the votes would be split within its parliamentary group, Samost was unable to say. Sildam, meanwhile, noted that while the position of the board of the Free Party was that the migration compact was the devil, the opposition of the Free Party's six-member parliamentary group may not end up being so uniform.

Samost and Sildam agreed, however, that Pro Patria's behaviour in Monday's vote isn't difficult to predict. According to Samost, it would be very odd if Pro Patria voted in such a way that would bring Estonia closer to joining the migration pact.

"Pro Patria is actually in a pickle," Sildam said. "On one hand, they have to preserve the image of Estonia's conservative migration policy, which I believe they have been pretty successful in doing thus far; they may have even won over some voters from EKRE. But Pro Patria's pickle lies in what to do if you have to vote clearly against your fellow coalition parties."

The most difficult to pin down is what the opposition Reform, which currently boasts the Riigikogu's biggest parliamentary group, might do. Samost noted that Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Marko Mihkelson, who is a member of the Reform Party but not the party's parliamentary group, initially wanted the Riigikogu to discuss the migration compact. On Friday, however, the committee, under his direction, changed the wording of a statement regarding the compact in such a way as to render the entire discussion in the Riigikogu essentially meaningless.

"Regarding the Reform Party's vote [on Monday], they have a number of options," Samost said. "They have the opportunity to go and vote in favour of the submitted draft, which has been drafted in their own image, but we don't know if there may be attempts in the Riigikogu to remove the points they had added. Then they can vote against it, or abstain from voting altogether, demand a roll call or similar."

Sildam also noted that Reform's parliamentary group isn't unified on the subject of the migration compact either. Allegedly, one third of the group is against it, while two thirds are in favour, making for rather mottled group.

Regarding the coalition Centre Party parliamentary group, Samost highlighted as a political-technologically interesting matter whether all the members thereof would be present on Monday.

The Riigikogu is to discuss on Monday morning a statement regarding Estonia's possible joining of the UN Global Compact on Migration.

"Surely a number of them are fairly sorely tempted to be absent," he said. "I can imagine that, in terms of worldview, quite a lot of Centre Party members would like to be of the same position as EKRE or Pro Patria."

The coalition Social Democrats (SDE), meanwhile, will continue to do whatever it takes to ensure that the migration compact gets Estonia's support, Samost added.

The Riigikogu is scheduled to discuss and vote on a statement regarding the UN Global Compact on Migration on Monday.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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