Center MP: Wrong to limit opposition on marriage referendum bill process

Andrei Korobeinik.
Andrei Korobeinik. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

EKRE is looking for ways to avoid the Social Democrats' plan to hinder the marriage definition referendum bill in the Riigikogu. Center MP and chair of the party's Riigikogu group Andrei Korobeinik finds that the opposition's work at parliament shouldn't be limited, and he doesn't approve of changing the work arrangement at the Riigikogu.

The Social Democratic Party (SDE) has promised to submit thousands of proposals on the marriage referendum bill, to hinder proceeding it in the Riigikogu, ETV current news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK), saying that it would further polarize and already divided society.

SDE chair Indrek Saar said."It is definitely not appropriate to organize a polarizing referendum and especially currently. We are using the tools that the opposition has in democratic countries, which is obstruction, by making enough change proposals for the proceedings of the bill to last as long as possible."

Theoretically, there are several ways for the coalition to overcome the obstruction. For example, changing the Riigikogu's Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act, and giving the government a chance to initiate the bill binding it toa vote of confidence. The referendum bill could also be tacked on to another bill, which is already being followed.

Chairman of the Riigikogu and member of EKRE Henn Põlluaas said that there are other options. "Joining these amendments together, binding and grouping and so on," Põlluaas said.

Põlluaas added that he has consulted with lawyers and ordered a judicial analysis, which should be ready in the coming days.

Chairman of the Isamaa Faction, Priit Sibul, said that the group has a wait-and-see attitude.

Sibul said: "First, we have to find out if the obstructions will actually happen. Then the question is whether they will come to voting at the chamber, or if it will be discussed at Riigikogu committee level. These stages need to be waited for before figuring out what will the reasonable solutions be to escape the situation."

Deputy Chairman of the Center Party's group, Andrei Korobeinik, says that the Center Party will make its decision when the amendments are submitted.

Korobeinik said: "I am definitely not of the opinion that the opposition's possibilities to exercise parliamentary democracy can be limited. I think it's completely reasonable, and I don't support changes in the work arrangements which take away that possibility. There is no major solution, but we will see what these amendments are and what their content is and how many of them are there."

The coalition parties submitted the bill to the Riigikogu on Wednesday, November 18.

SDE has in the recent past used filibustering tactics at least once; in summer it issued around 50,000 amendments to a proposed bill to abolish the body tasked with monitoring party finances, at a time when Center was facing scrutiny over its finances and shortly before the chamber was due to break up for summer recess.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino, Andrew Whyte

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