At today’s extraordinary sitting, the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) discussed the motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, which was submitted by 44 members of the Riigikogu. The motion of no confidence was not supported. 40 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour and 55 were against. The support of at least 51 members of the Riigikogu was needed to express no confidence.
Kaja Kallas (Estonian Reform Party) justified the submission of the motion of no confidence. “Jüri Ratas seems to be a nice person. I believe most of us are ready to sign such a statement. But today’s vote of no confidence is not about whether we like Jüri Ratas or not. We submitted the motion of no confidence because Jüri Ratas as the Prime Minister is responsible for what is taking place in our country,” Kaja Kallas said.
Kallas explained that Estonia had always wanted to be an equal among equals on the world arena, and we had made a success of it. “It can be said that the Prime Minister is not responsible for the signs and sayings made by the ministers of his government that have resulted in damaging the international reputation of Estonia. The Prime Minister has not made those signs. The Prime Minister is respectful. But we know that this does not count. Outside Estonia, it is the Government as a whole who gives a face to Estonia, and that face is no longer clean,” Kallas said. She presented an overview of the assessments from international media on the impression Estonia had left during the current Government.
Kallas analysed and evaluated different aspects of the activities of Ratas’s government and the sayings of its ministers. “We all know that the original source of the problems of this Government is the Estonian Conservative People’s Party, but what makes us worry is that the word of the Prime Minister does not count in this Government and the position of the Conservative Party always prevails. After the Government took office, the Prime Minister has said already 14 times that the behaviour of the Ministers of the Government was unacceptable, improper and must not be repeated. But still we see that the reproachable behaviour is repeated,” Kallas said.
“If there were single cases of breaches or misconduct, resigning of a specific minister could be requested. As these incidents repeat practically from week to week, it can take place only with the approval of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister who allows breaking up of Estonia is responsible for it even when it does not happen as a result of his active deeds but his passive onlooking,” Kallas added.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas explained his activities as the head of government. “It has always been important for me as a politician and as the Prime Minister that we should be able to unite Estonia, to bridge the gaps in the society and to increase the bond between all of us. Over long years, several contradictions have emerged and existed in our society, regardless of our best wishes. Therefore I have said that the prime minister has to be the prime minister for all people of Estonia, not only for his or her supporters or voters.
Ratas denied the allegations that Estonia did not have a functioning government, and gave examples of decisions that had been passed. “For example, we agreed upon the necessary investments for improving the working conditions of the National Library and the National Archives and starting the construction of the new building for the Estonian Public Broadcasting. We also decided to contribute to modernising the regional centres of the Police and Border Guard Board and renovating the buildings of the Rescue Board brigades. Besides that, we allocated resources for the construction of state service bureaus in order to gather the services provided to the local population conveniently under one roof,” Ratas said. He added some more examples of the decisions adopted by the Government, which were important in his opinion.
“I understand that this coalition does not seem easy for many. I can assure you that we have had many difficult moments between the coalition partners,” Ratas admitted. In his opinion, there may be such moments in all governments. “It certainly is not easy to come from the opposition with little experience to the government. At the same time, I can feel every day that there is enough will between the partners to cooperate and find common ground. It strengthens my faith that dignified words and serious actions will stand out more than mistakes and miscalculations,” Ratas said.
Ratas also answered the questions from members of the Riigikogu.
During the debate, Indrek Saar (Social Democratic Party), Kaja Kallas (Reform Party), Siim Pohlak (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Kadri Simson (Centre Party) and Helir-Valdor Seeder (Isamaa).
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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