Prepared for a long struggle
Seeder admitted that the planned law amendment should not harm the interests of the citizens of Estonia's allies; he therefore recommended that the issue should be resolved according to the practice of Spain, according to his knowledge, where citizens of third countries with which Spain has concluded the corresponding bilateral agreements have the right to vote in local elections.
Other objections to the Isamaa bill claim that revoking the aliens’ voting right would be discriminatory. The counterargument has been that in 13 member states of the European Union, such as Latvia, France and Germany, citizens of third countries do not have the right to vote in local elections, and no one considers these countries to be undemocratic or discriminatory because of that.
Seeder further disagrees with the view that the participation of third-country nationals in local elections only affects the solution of local communal problems rather than political issues of the country in general. “If Russian citizens had not had the right to vote locally, the Center Party’s monopoly of power in Tallinn would probably never have happened,” he said. “If there had been coalition governments in Tallinn, the entire political picture of Estonia would probably have been different, because the importance of Tallinn in Estonian politics is huge. This would have changed the power structure of Estonian politics."
Seeder said that if the handling of the Isamaa bill should show that revoking the aliens’ voting right requires changing the constitution, then this long road must be chosen. The question is whether there is enough political support for this, he added.
Seeder expressed hope that the bill will pass the first reading in the Riigikogu tomorrow. The representative of the coalition’s leading party, Võrklaev, predicted the same.