Opposition MP: Coalition Became Slightly Less Truculent, But Is Out of Ideas
Looking back on the spring Parliamentary season, top Center Party MP Kadri Simson said that a faint improvement could be sensed in what her party has previously called "steamroller tactics," but she said the Cabinet had no ideas besides a feeling of being indispensable.
"Looking back at the first half-year of the year, there are the first signs that the opposition is being listened to in Parliament," Simson told uudised.err.ee.
She said that the spring session saw "substantive" discussions on a number of bills introduced by Center. "For instance, the debate over whether the school book benefit and funeral benefit, both of them victim to recession-era cuts, should be reinstated," she said. Both were ultimately voted down, but "it was good that there was participation in thinking on these issues."
Looking forward, she said she wanted more positive development on Center's proposal to raise the income-tax-free minimum, which has been kept at the same level for more than five years even as salaries increase. There tends to be strong acknowledgement across the political landscape that a hike is due.
A negative for Simson was aspects related to the price of electricity.
"Before the market was deregulated [for home consumers in January] both [economy minister Juhan] Parts and [finance minister Jürgen] Ligi boasted that the price rise would soon be forgotten. Last year's late-night sittings for lowering taxes lopped onto the price elicited the response that the Cabinet had its own plans with the renewable energy fees. Today it is now clear that there has never been any functioning plan and basically an experiment has been conducted on the population, which has led to their buying power being worse than the Latvians' or Lithuanians' level."
"Thus a conclusion from the first half of the year could be that the government has no more ideas, energy or popular support, but that they are continuing their rhetoric that they are indispensable, with numb self-confidence."