President Kersti Kaljulaid held a video-link meeting with leading members of all parliamentary parties on Tuesday, during which she stressed the importance of the parliament's role in the coronavirus pandemic, setting it in the wider constitutional context of emergency situations going forward.
"During an emergency situation, the government and the prime minister have very far-reaching powers at their disposal, and that is right," Kaljulaid wrote on Tuesday on her social media account.
"At the same time, there are many issues which have a long-lasting impact on society and where our constitution allows for parliament to have its say and offer solutions," the president went on.
Kaljulaid said that while public health was important, the work of the Riigikogu must continue and work must continue on appropriate outcomes, including to the elections for the Riigikogu's presidency, due to take place next week.
"We are all going through this situation for the first time, and it is important to set out as soon as possible what the role of the leader of the emergency (i.e. the prime minister) is, what the role of the parliament is," she continued.
The head of state emphasized that the issue was all the more important as a precedent had been set.
"We are crystallizing the role of parliament in these types of situations for perhaps the next hundred years," She added.
The video-lined meeting was attended by Andrei Korobeinik, deputy chairman of the Estonian Center Party group at the Riigikogu, Priit Sibul, leader of Isamaa's Riigikogu group, Reform Party leader Kaja Kallas and Indrek Saar, SDE chair
Siim Pohlak, the leader of the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) Riigikogu group, was unable to attend the video meeting at the proposed time, the President's Office said.
The Estonian government, made up of the Center Party, EKRE and Isamaa, declared an emergency situation over the coronavirus spread on Thusday night.
Editor: Andrew Whyte