Kallas Says More of Estonia's Elite Should Be Involved in Governance, Proposes Bicameral Parliament ({{commentsTotal}})

Outgoing European Commissioner Siim Kallas said as much of the Estonian elite as possible should be involved in the state's decision making process.

Kallas told Eesti Ekspress Estonia should weigh a bicameral parliament system, and bring people outside political parties in on questions with more long-term effects.

He said he worried that more and more short-term ideas are thrown around during elections and few are interested in long-term programs.

“Estonia is small and Estonia's elite is also small. My idea is that as much as possible of the elite should be involved in state decision-making,” Kallas said, adding that the thought of uniting the nation's top brains to discuss important decisions is an "obsession" of his.

He said a body should be formed, larger than Parliament, which would increase the feeling of ownership of the state. “There are always elections going on and always election campaigns. Not everything should be tied to that,” Kallas said.

Reactions Cautiously Positive

One of the drafters of the Constitution, Jüri Adams, said it was a good idea but said he doubted whether it would overcome all of the flaws of democracy.

"In some way, presidents have served as the second house of parliament. First, Lennart Meri, who vetoed many laws, which he felt were not good or correct. There was less of it during Arnold Rüütel's term, but quite a lot of it in current President Toomas Hendrik Ilves's era," Adams told ETV.

"I know that it could help, to. The [bicameral idea] can't be shot down, but I doubt it is a method for getting over the current deficits of democracy."

Supreme Court chief justice Rait Maruste said the bicameral parliament idea merited discussion but cautioned against trying to implement it right away.

"Our Constitution today is clearly based on a Parliamentary model. The people have voted for it and we would have to hold a very broad discussion."


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