A thread on how far the proceedings at attempting to enact Estonia's "marriage referendum" have been going. I won't be including links to news, cuz the thread is a rebuild from a reply-thread, & I've resorted to adding more tweets.

All of the top of my head.

#Eesti #Estonia
In late 2014, the Parliament of Estonia voted in a law on cohabitation (kooseluseadus) to allow same-sex ppl to officially register their partnership & enjoy most of the same benefits that straight PPL do. About 1 hour later, the act was signed into law by @IlvesToomas

The draft law was voted in with a two-vote narrow minority, but the process hit a snag — the Act of Deployment (rakendusakt) for that law could not be voted in, because getting that done required a majority of 51 votes, which there were not enough of in Parliament.

At the time, the governing coalition consisted of Reform, the Social Democrats (SDE), and Isamaa ja Res Publica Liit ("IRL"). IRL = the Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica; renamed to Isamaa a few years later.

The opposition was mostly the Centre Party (Keskerakond/"Kesk").

Reform & SDE endorsed the Cohabitation Law, IRL disliked it, but as a coalition partner, did not put any roadblocks before it.

The Centre was like this: the conservative leadership disliked it, while some in the Party fraction (caucus) in Parliament were a bit more liberal.

Two years later, the party landscape was reshuffled, when SDE and IRL eloped, threw Reform overboard, and made a new coalition with Centre, which had by then changed leadership, and ostensibly, the tone of the party.

Sidebar: leader of Centre Edgar Savisaar, then the mayor of Estonia's capital Tallinn, was embroiled in a massive criminal corruption lawsuit, while having suffered a very debilitating illness which he apparently got from his trip to Thailand.

Because of the poor health condition of Mr. Savisaar, the courts let him off the criminal case (which itself did not end), but he resigned from party leadership. Jüri Ratas, the once-mayor of Tallinn, and once-youngest mayor of a European capital, became party leader.

So, in the 2016 parliamentary reshuffle, Jüri Ratas (Centre) became prime minister with coalition partners SDE and Isamaa.

The Centre is generous in terms of benefits to its base (pensioners, the poor, and the afraid-to-be-poor), but otherwise, socially conservative.

In the 2019 general election, EKRE came on the scene. EKRE = Eesti Konservatiivne Rahvaerakond = the Estonian Conservative People's Party. It's an outgrowth of the agrarian Rahvaliit (People's Union), whose former leadership was embroiled in another massive corruption scandal
The main expressions of EKRE are populism, nationalism, anti-LGBT, anti-immigrantion, anti-Islam, anti-liberalism, traditionalism wrt family, and profuse indulgence in conspiracy theories.*

It's lead by the father-son duo Mart and Martin Helme.

* et.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eesti_Kon…

A sidebar in two tweets: In the Estonian language, 'rahvuslus' as an idea and ideology is often translated to 'nationalism', but this is wrong, IMO.


'rahvuslus' really relates to ethnocentrism and love of country & nation, and ~not~ nationalism (national/ethnic supremacy).

Whereas some populists make effective use of this confusion, when they say 'rahvuslus' & mean what in other languages is 'nationalism'. #dogwhistle

So then, enter EKRE.

In the run-up to the 2019 general election, EKRE had a massive campaign of scare-mongering video advertisements on both tv and YouTube, under and on top of every music video in the YouTube app. (This is why adblockers are so very needed on mobile.)

But there's more: EKRE was also propped up with mail-in brochures from SAPTK.

SAPTK = Sihtasutus Perekonna ja Traditsiooni Kaitseks, very roughly in English: the Foundation for the Protection of Family and Tradition. — Like a political action committee in United States.

In Estonian politics, party membership is public, & donations to parties must also be public (AFAIK). The control mechanisms & reporting requirements as to the sources of money to actual parties are so very strict, that it would make other nations blush of both shame & envy.
Not that all this would entirely prevent chicanery, but party income directly correlates to how well they can advertise in media, both in print, tv/radio, and online.

SAPTK, on the other hand, is not a party, but a foundation that has campaigned in support of EKRE.

Unlike an actual political party, SAPTK's financing and reporting requirements are more lax.

SAPTK's financing has been found to be not entirely local, as evidenced by this article, where the foundation has gotten moneys from Polish ultra-christians:

Back to electioneering in 2019.

The political election messaging of both EKRE & SAPTK overlapped with regard to opposing the cohabitation law and promoting 'family values', with EKRE obviously having a wider focus, primarily stoking eursceptic and anti-immigrant sentiments

After the 2019 general election concluded, the Reform Party won by the number of most mandates to Parliament. Many expected a normal coalition of Reform, SDE, and Isamaa.

But no :/

Jüri Ratas, who wanted to remain prime minister, made a different deal with both Isamaa and EKRE. EKRE got ~15% of the vote from about 100,000 voters. The parliamentary arithmetic made that permutation possible, and the coalition of Centre-EKRE-Isamaa was formed.

The governing parties agreed in their coalition agreement on a referendum on marriage (m+f only). But there are not enough votes in Parliament to pass a measure to make a constitutional referendum, so the government wants a pseudoreferendum, a poll or a plebiscite of sorts.

And since it's not really a constitutional referendum (rahvahääletus), but a very expensive (€2 million) national poll (rahvaküsitlus), then it's constitutionally non-binding :>

OTOH, some MPs in Kesk & Isamaa, the two of the three coalition parties, have begun hemming & hawing about voting at all for this "national poll".

Meantime, the Social Democrats came out with a plan to introduce 50,000 (fifty thousand) proposed amendments to the draft law.

The number of waverers from coalition parties has increased just enough to tip the scales towards the other side, esp. w/ MP Imre Sooäär returning to Parliament to replace former coalition MP Kalev Kallo (Centre), whose criminal conviction for corruption entered into force


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