No confidence motion against Estonian PM fails

  • 2019-08-31
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – A motion of no confidence in Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas submitted by the opposition failed as expected on Friday, with the 101-seat chamber voting 40-55 to reject the motion.

The number of deputies present was 96.

Before the vote, the prime minister spent more than three hours answering MPs' questions.

Friday's extraordinary session of the parliament had been called by speaker of the Riigikogu Henn Polluaas on the proposal of 44 MPs.

"It is with regret that we must say that as prime minister, Juri Ratas has been unable to ensure the dignified governance of Estonia. Juri Ratas has not managed to form a government that would work towards taking Estonia forward. Instead, Estonia has a government, which, from the day it took office, has been attacking various groups in the society and dismantling social cohesion," the statement by the opposition Reform Party, initiator of the no-confidence motion, read. 

The chair of the Center Party group in the Riigikogu, Kadri Simson, said in her speech delivered ahead of the vote that during the events a couple of weeks ago it was namely Ratas who stood up for the rule of law unwaveringly and without hesitation.

"In that crisis it was namely the prime minister who imposed the meaning of the rule of law without blowing the whistle or blinking the lights," Simson said.

According to Simson, the Juri Ratas governments, both the previous and the current one, have made several decisions taking us forward.

"The tax reform implemented by the previous government not only raised the incomes of people earning a lower or average wage, but also helped to reduce the share of cash in hand wages. The current government has succeeded in making positive decisions during its first months in office regarding which we can hold substantive discussions during the fall session of the Riigikogu. Be it the state reform, pension rise, or the issue of citizenship of young people," Simson said in her speech before lawmakers. 

The chairman of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE), Indrek Saar, meanwhile said that it is in no way possible for SDE to trust Prime Minister Juri Ratas, who continues to turn a blind eye to actions splitting the society committed by leaders of the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE).

According to Saar, the attempt by Mart and Martin Helme to remove the police chief in violation of the law and the lenient response by the prime minister that followed are a reason in their own right to question the credibility of both the head of government and the government as a whole.

"The recent government crisis is but a piece in the pattern that has been evident for almost four months, where the leadership of one government party downgrades certain groups in the society, considers the European Union the biggest threat to Estonia's independence and instigates anti-EU sentiment in society," the SDE leader said. 

"Under Ratas' leadership, our Estonia has not become more united or coherent. The government led by Ratas has not come up with solutions which take Estonia forward. Instead of strategic decisions, decisions looking to the future, the government's arsenal is made up of populist and often also vandalist steps prompted by short-term benefits of three parties," Saar added.