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Opposition agrees to vote against environment minister

Feb 15, 2006
By The Baltic Times

TALLINN 's Three opposition parties in Parliament have agreed to submit a no-confidence motion against Environment Minister Villu Reiljan on Wednesday for his poor handling of the recent oil spill, the worse in recent history.

Res Publica and Pro Patria Union, both right-wing parties, said they had agreed upon the text in the motion and were gathering signatures.

The Social Democrats have agreed to support the no-confidence initiative, but they want it to include the entire government, not just one minister.

"By refusing to express no-confidence in Prime Minister [Andrus] Ansip, Res Publica wishes to cure the symptoms, not the cause," Social Democrats' deputy leader Katrin Saks was quoted by the Baltic News Service as saying.

At least 21 signatures are necessary for the motion to be accepted, which the three parties 's which together occupy 43 seats in the 101-person Parliament 's can easily muster.

A vote of no-confidence requires 51 votes in order to succeed.

Previously Taavi Veskimagi, leader of Res Publica, said opposition politicians were working to sway several MPs from coalition parties to support the no-confidence vote. Given the extent of the environment damage and general perception that the government failed to react in an adequate manner, several deputies from the coalition 's the Center Party, the People's Party and the People's Union 's may be persuaded to express no-confidence in Reiljan.

Reiljan heads the People's Union.

According to latest estimates, the Jan. 27 oil spill killed as many as 3,500 birds and tainted kilometers of Estonian coastline.

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