Coalition compromise: EKRE to be given 'golden key' in referendums

Martin Helme, right, together with his father, EKRE leader Mart Helme.
Martin Helme, right, together with his father, EKRE leader Mart Helme. Source: ERR

The coalition in the process of being formed by the Centre Party, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and Isamaa does not intend to repeal the Registered Partnership Act in Estonia, as it will not have enough votes to do so, the heads of EKRE admitted on TRE Radio's sunday broadcast. Party leaders, however, want something in its stead — referendums.

"We will not be able to successfully force the repeal of the Registered Parternship through in the Riigikogu, because we just won't have enough votes," EKRE deputy chairman Martin Helme said on TRE Radio.

In lieu of this, EKRE is to receive in the coalition agreement the opportunity to hold referendums with which to later achieve what it wants, the younger Helme said.

"What did we get in return then? The agreement to have referendums and opinion polls count in Estonia, the ability to put any matter pertaining to a national issue to a referendum upon collecting 50,000 signatures, and if voter turnout exceeds half and they support the referendum's proposal, then it will automatically enter into force," the EKRE chairman described. "This means that we can put the repeal of the Registered Partnership Act to a referendum. This means that we can put the direct election of the president to a referendum."

It is important that the three parties agree on election thresholds as well, he added.

According to the younger Helme, the plan is to conduct an opinion poll during the next local elections regarding whether paragraph 27 of the Constitution of the Republic should be amended to include the clause that marriage is between a man and a woman. Should the proposal receive popular support, the plan would be to submit an initiative to amend the Constitution during the term of the current Riigikogu which, according to the Constitution, would have to be completed during the term of the next Riigikogu.

"We received a little golden key with which to solve everything else that we didn't get this time," he added.

According to the two Helmes, the three negotiating parties also agreed regarding the Registered Partnership Act that it would not be implemented. EKRE believes that the risk exists that the Reform Party and the Social Democratic Party (SDE) might put the implementing provisions of the act to a vote, and if Centre hasn't promised to be against this, the possibly may exist that they would be passed.

"That is what we achieved, and that is no small feat," Martin Helme said on Räägime asjast.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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