Constitutional committee co-chair steps down to remove Poolamets as chair

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Lauri Läänemets (red tie) and Anti Poolamets (to Läänemets' immediate left) at a constitutional committee meeting last week. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) MP Lauri Läänemets stepped down as deputy chairman of the constitutional committee of the Riigikogu on Friday to remove Anti Poolamets (EKRE) from the committee chairman post. New chairmen will likely be elected on Monday.

As another turn to the opposition's obstruction against the marriage referendum in the constitutional committee, Läänemets stepped down, meaning that along with the new deputy chair, a new chairman must also be elected.

The powers of both Poolamets and Läänemets remain in effect until the elections which must be held at the next committee sitting, presumably to on Monday. As the elections of chairman and deputy chairman have to be done concurrently and in secret, the committee must meet up physically, a response to Friday's called e-meeting, which opposition politicians ditched to instead meet with Poolamets in his own cabinet.

"Yesterday we all saw unequivocally that in addition to ignoring democratic values and the law, Poolamets is also incapable on a more technical level. If the chairman fails at the basic task of leading a committee meeting, the committee needs to find a new leader. MP of the coalition Imre Sooäär reached the same conclusion yesterday, and discontent with Poolamets has also been voiced by EKRE members," Läänemets said.

Poolamets opined on Thursday that the discord in the parliament over the marriage referendum had turned into a circus.

"Can you imagine if ordinary bills were discussed in the constitutional committee with anyone taking the floor and speaking for as long as they like? [Time restrictions] also apply to smaller bills with ten motions to amend -- with those, too, a certain time frame is allotted, and the rules established by the chairman of the constitutional committee are adhered to. What we're seeing today in the parliament is a circus -- it's shameful and unprecedented, at least for me," Poolamets said according ETV's politics talk show "Esimene stuudio" on Thursday evening.

The constitutional committee of the Riigikogu decided on Wednesday not to discuss all 9,400 motions to amend the draft resolution on the marriage referendum individually, allotting seven minutes instead to each submitter for introducing their motions. For MPs who had submitted 99 motions, for instance, the time frame for introducing each motion would in this case be 3.3 seconds.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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