Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) chairman and Minister of the Interior Mart Helme said at Thursday's government press conference that EKRE will be submitting its own bill changing the pharmacy reform to the Riigikogu next week. Isamaa chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder, however, doesn't find a new bill to be a reasonable course of action.
"We hope that the bill will be finished enough next week that we can get it working," Helme said.
He confirmed that an EKRE working group is currently dealing with the bill.
"This is our 11th hour attempt to change the bill that should enter into force on April 1," he explained, also adding that the party wants to use this bill to attempt to fulfill one of their election promises — that there be one 24-hour pharmacy located in each county."
In an interview with ERR, EKRE deputy chairman and Minister of Finance Martin Helme also said that EKRE would be introducing its own bill making changes to the pharmacy reform.
"Masses of pharmacies being closed isn't an acceptable solution for us," Helme said. "We are continuing to work toward avoiding this. We have not agreed with this [pharmacy reform] law entering into force in this form."
Mart Helme admitted that coalition parliamentary groups lacked consensus regarding the pharmacy reform, but hoped that EKRE's parliamentary group would support the new bill.
Seeder: Not a good idea
Isamaa chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder, meanwhile, doesn't consider it a good idea to submit a new pharmacy reform bill, saying it would only lead to confusion and adding that an additional bill or changes would not find sufficient support in the Riigikogu.
Seeder said that he had not heard of such a plan on EKRE's part, adding that no such bill has been discussed by coalition leadership or at meetings. He also confirmed that Isamaa has no intention of submitting any sort of bills involving the pharmacy reform.
"Everyone is so fragmented in various parties; and there are different views," he said. "These battle fronts don't run narrowly between the coalition and the opposition, as votes in the Session Hall have demonstrated."
In such a situation, where no significant changes have the support of the majority of the Riigikogu, there's no point in causing even more confusion and introducing a bill which likely doesn't have the support of the Riigikogu's majority to see just in case, to see what happens, Seeder said. "I don't think this is a very reasonable or rational thing to do," he added.
On December 10, Isamaa MP Priit Sibul submitted a bill to the Riigikogu annulling the pharmacy reform. A week later, the Riigikogu rejected it upon its first reading.
Editor: Aili Vahtla