Coalition to disband party financing watchdog ERJK ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

ERJK's office.
ERJK's office. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The coalition parties on Monday initiated the disbanding of the Political Parties Financing Surveillance Committee (ERJK) and delegating its tasks to the National Audit Office of Estonia (Riigikontroll).

The explanatory note to the draft law states that the ERJK composition does not fully meet the criterion of independence. "Political influence over the members of the ERJK is not out of question, as ERJK also includes members of the parties represented in the Riigikogu," coalition faction chairmen Kersti Sarapuu (Center), Siim Pohlak (EKRE), and Priit Sibul (Isamaa) said.

The Supreme Court of Estonia has confirmed there is no conflict regarding the abovementioned matters, ERJK chairman Liisa Oviir told ERR. "Various international organizations have assessed it in a similar manner. It has been said that in addition to representatives of all political parties, ERJK includes the representatives of three constitutional institutions, which ensures its balance," Oviir commented.

The faction chairmen also criticize ERJK for not having laid down requirements ensuring sectoral expertise and necessary professionalism. Oviir said it would be easy to change by establishing specific requirements. "This hasn't been done thus far. We have a financial advisor, a legal advisor, another member of the National Audit Office, who has very specific knowledge. I would say there is very good sectoral expertise," Oviir added.

Vice-chairman of the committee Kaarel Tarand told ERR that the draft does not explain which problem will be addressed. "There are references in the draft to surveillance over party financing having improved year-on-year and if they now say that it should be professionalized, I see a contradiction," Tarand said.

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Editor: Anders Nõmm

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