Ratas promises to put migration pact to government vote if necessary
Should the Riigikogu approve the opposition Reform and Free Parties' proposal to pass the decision regarding Estonia's stance on the UN Global Compact on Migration, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) is prepared to put it to a vote in the government.
"Should the elected representatives, led by the Reform Party and the Free Party, decline the Riigikogu's right and opportunity to define its position, then I am prepared to take the matter of the migration compact to the government and, in order to achieve clarity in the given complicated situation, vote on it as well," Ratas wrote on social media on Monday. "Yes, this last solution isn't in any way in accordance with the principles of decision-making in a coalition government, but in this case we have to proceed according to the Riigikogu's respective wish."
Ratas' statement can be considered a warning to its junior coalition partner Pro Patria, who by early Monday morning had not yet decided how it would vote in the Riigikogu. The smallest coalition party's parliamentary group was scheduled to meet at 10:00 EET to work out its position on the matter.
"Over the past few weeks I have tried to earn Pro Patria's support for the migration compact," Ratas said. "Regrettably, this has led to stiff opposition. This is why 39 MPs submitted a declaration to the Riigikogu, which according to the Constitution has a mandate as representatives of the people to decide on important national issues."
Pro Patria chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder told ERR on Monday morning that as the Centre Party and the Social Democratic Party (SDE) support the migration compact, then should it be put to a vote in the government, it will pass.
"Those political forces saying that we aren't going to decide this in the Riigikogu, but rather the government will decide, that is clear support for the compact, as they are aware of the power ratios in the government," Seeder said.
The migration compact was discussed at the 15 November Cabinet meeting, but due to Pro Patria's opposition, the government did not approve it. Following the Cabinet meeting, Ratas said that when Centre, SDE and Pro Patria formed the current government coalition, the three partners agreed that they would make all decisions by consensus.
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Editor: Aili Vahtla