TALLINN - In a statement issued ahead of parliamentary debate on a bill that would deprive Russian citizens of the right to vote in local elections in Estonia, chairman of Isamaa party Helir-Valdor Seeder said that barring citizens of Russia from elections in Estonia is a security issue.
Unlike in local polls, only citizens of Estonia can vote in general elections in Estonia.
"Russia is fighting a war with Ukraine and, with its aggressive policies, is a threat to the whole of democratic Europe, including Estonia. Citizens of such an aggressor state should not have the right to vote in Estonia. This is a matter of Estonian security. Only people who want the Republic of Estonia to endure through the ages should have a say in the life of our state," Seeder, head of one of the two junior partners in the three-party coalition governing Estonia, said.
"Everyone has had the opportunity to learn Estonian and apply for Estonian citizenship. If a person has not learned Estonian and applied for Estonian citizenship and, on the contrary, has made a conscious choice in favor of Russian citizenship, then they should not have the right to vote in local elections either," he said.
Seeder recalled that Isamaa tabled the legislative amendment back in April.
"At that moment, there was no support for it from other political parties. During the coalition negotiations, we raised the subject again, and it has had an impact. To date, the Reform Party too has expressed support for the initiative," the chairman of Isamaa said.
"I hope that we can conclude the first reading of the bill today. If the need arises, we are also ready to initiate an amendment to the Constitution," he added.
The bill would repeal the right to vote in local elections for aliens residing in Estonia, except EU citizens. Third-country nationals also do not have the right to vote in, for example, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, France and several other countries of Europe.