Prime Minister: No-confidence vote Riigikogu sitting going ahead Friday

Supporters of Jüri Ratas, social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Centre) among them, demonstrating outside the Riigikogu Monday morning.
Supporters of Jüri Ratas, social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Centre) among them, demonstrating outside the Riigikogu Monday morning. Source: Centre Party

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) confirmed that Friday's extraordinary Riigikogu sitting is to go ahead, with representatives from all three coalition parties, Centre, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and Isamaa present, according to ERR's online news in Estonian, citing daily newspaper Õhtuleht.

The session was called by the opposition Reform Party, ahead of the Riigikogu returning from its summer recess in September, to hold a vote of no-confidence in the coalition.

Ratas said he did not know why the opposition had not called the session for the beginning of the week, but that all three parties would be at the sitting, in support of his position as prime minister.

"The coalition will in any case be present, be it an extraordinary, additional or regular session. The coalition is definitely going to be there to ensure attendance [of MPs] and will express its political opinion via the vote," Ratas said.

Reform leader Kaja Kallas announced the party's plan to hold the no-confidence vote at its summer days event on Aug. 17. The other opposition party, the Social Democratic Party backed the move, which followed an attempt by two EKRE ministers, Mart Helme and Martin Helme, unilaterally to remove Police and Border Guard Board chief Elmar Vaher. Normal procedure would have made such a move a matter for the government, rather than a single minister.

For the motion to pass, a minimum of 51 votes in favor, at the 101-seat Riigikogu, are required. The three coalition parties together have 56 seats. The two opposition parties, plus independent Raimond Kaljulaid, together tally 45 seats.

The motion is likely to fail because with a full turnout of MPs, a minimum of six from the coalition parties would need to either abstain or vote against the government for the motion to pass, assuming all opposition MPs vote in favor.

One coalition MP, Viktoria Ladõnskaja-Kubits (Isamaa) voted against the coalition entering into office in late April.

A rally outside the Riigikogu on Monday morning brought protesters in support of Jüri Ratas as prime minister. The demonstrators carried placards noting that support which had been handed to them by organizers (see picture).

Ratas made the short journey from the nearby Stenbock House, seat of the government, to greet the demonstrators, saying "please come on Friday, too," referring to the forthcoming no-confidence motion.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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