Riigikogu to vote again on second pillar pension reform bill Wednesday ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

National coat of arms at Toompea, seat of the Riigikogu.
National coat of arms at Toompea, seat of the Riigikogu. Source: Siim Lõvi

The Riigikogu is to hold a new vote Wednesday on the pension reform bill, Baltic News Service reports, following the bill's rejection by President Kersti Kaljulaid in early February.

The bill, which makes membership of the so-called second pillar of the Estonian pension system, referring to employee contributions, optional where it had been mandatory for most earners since 2010, will be discussed in the chamber, then voted on, all in the one Wednesday sitting, daily Postimees reports.

The first vote which took place at the end of January and which the government had tied to a confidence vote saw it pass by 56 votes in favor to 45 against.  

However, the president returned the bill to the parliament, in line with her constitutional role to do so as she sees fit, on February 7 citing several inconsistencies with the Estonian constitution.

The president said the bill disproportionately violates the fundamental rights of the people, and is in many respects contrary to the principles of the rule of law and a societal state, as well as the principles of legitimate expectations highlighted in the constitution.

At the core of this is the question whether the law would cause those who remain in the system and those who opt out to be treated differently in terms of their pension provision, including the state pension (first pillar).

At Wednesday's session, each MP can table one question for an oral answer to two parties, the constitutional committee and the finance committee, in so doing addressing the chamber on the draft legislation.

In the deliberations which follow delivery of the reports and question and answer time, all Mps can express an opinion.

Should the pension reform bill not receive the necessary number of votes in favor this time around, one option would be to start the procedure of the bill effectively from scratch.

If the draft legislation passes this second vote, it will again go to the president, who has 14 days again to deliberate whether to promulgate it or not. If she does not, it would be sent to the Supreme Court for a final decision.

Critics of the reform cite the short term shock the economy they say it would entail, as well as shrinking pension pots among an aging populace. Supporters say the mandatory scheme (many earners had the option to opt in or out in 2010, but thereafter it was compulsory) was performing below the market rate in terms of the various managed pension funds the pillar makes use of.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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