Last Riigikogu sitting before Christmas to be held remotely

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Santa Claus visited the Riigikogu on Thursday. December 19, 2019. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The last meeting of the Riigikogu before Christmas will take place remotely. This means that the traditionally sarcastic Santa Claus Riigikogu visit will also not take place face-to-face.

The Reform Party faction on Wednesday asked for the Riigikogu sitting on Thursday to be held remotely but refused to say why some of their members cannot participate.

Following a lengthy discussion, Vice President of the Riigikogu Helir-Valdor Seeder put the matter up to a vote where it succeeded.

President of the Riigikogu Henn Põlluaas told ERR that as far as he knows, this means Vice President of the Riigikogu Siim Kallas will be the only one meeting Santa on Thursday.

Reform Party chair Kaja Kallas explained her party's proposal by saying that two committees met with a person later diagnosed with COVID-19 on Monday and the risk of infection is still there. She added that MPs sit close together on the floor and switching to remote work is necessary.

Kallas said she filed the motion on behalf of a Reform Party member who has been ordered to isolate.

Vice President of the Riigikogu Helir-Valdor Seeder said that individual isolated MPs cannot attend hybrid sittings and that a decision is needed in terms of whether the Riigikogu will switch to remote sittings or continue convening.

Seeder added that MPs Viktoria Ladõnskaja-Kubits (Isamaa) and Marko Šorin (Center) who are also in isolation have not asked for remote sittings. Center MP Mihhail Korb has also been told to isolate.

Reform MP Jüri Jaanson later said that their faction has an MP who cannot show up because they suspect having COVID-19.

Member of the Board of the Riigikogu Siim Kallas then withdrew his vote in favor of continuing contact sittings given earlier in the day.

The Riigikogu put to vote the Reform Party's proposal to switch to remote sittings starting on December 17.

The motion passed with 42 votes for and 40 against.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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