Riigikogu convenes extraordinary sitting, Ratas to face no-confidence vote ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) addressing MPs at Friday's extraordinary Riigikogu sitting. Aug. 30, 2019.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) addressing MPs at Friday's extraordinary Riigikogu sitting. Aug. 30, 2019. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Riigikogu convened for an extraordinary sitting at 10 a.m. on Friday, on the agenda of which was a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre).

The call for an extraordinary sitting was initiated by the opposition Reform Party. The opposition alone lacks sufficient votes to pass a no-confidence vote against the prime minister.

"We must regretfully profess that as prime minister, Jüri Ratas has been incapable of ensuring the dignified governance of Estonia," the text of the no-confidence motion reads. "Jüri Ratas has been incapable of forming a government that would work toward moving Estonia forward. Instead, Estonia has a government that has, since taking office, attacked various societal groups and destroyed its society's cohesion. We have a government that is damaging Estonia's international reputation, and whose incompetent ministers overstep the bounds of their authority and for whom the rule of law means nothing at all. We have a government who, despite economic growth, have been spending and continue to spend at the future's expense."

"We wrote a statement for the no-confidence motion against the prime minister in favor of which all Reform Party and Social Democratic Party (SDE) MPs and [independent, ex-Centre MP] Raimond Kaljulaid have promised to vote," Reform Party parliamentary group chairwoman Kaja Kallas said last Friday.

At least 51 votes needed to pass

The 101-seat Riigikogu can express no confidence in the government, the prime minister or a minister with a decision in favor of which a majority, or at least 51 MPs, votes.

A motion of no confidence can be initiated by one fifth of the Riigikogu, or at least 21 MPs. Should a no-confidence vote against the government or prime minister pass, the entire government resigns.

In absence of a quorum at a general sitting of the Riigikogu, at least 51 MPs must be present at an extended sitting and at an extraordinary sitting. 

While a general sitting of the Riigikogu lacks a quorum, or minimum required number of participating MPs, a quorum of 51 MPs is required for an additional or extraordinary sitting, in the absence of which it cannot vote.

Absences further deplete opposition vote

The opposition currently commands 44 seats in the Riigikogu: the Reform Party holds 34 and the Social Democratic Party (SDE) ten seats. MP Raimond Kaljulaid, formerly a member of the Centre Party, is also an independent.

The coalition currently commands 56 seats in the Riigikogu: the Centre Party holds 25, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) 19 and Isamaa 12 seats.

All 56 coalition MPs were marked present at Friday's sitting. Absent from the sitting were a total of seven opposition MPs, including three from the Reform Party and four Social Democrats.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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