Opposition's protest will likely reach Riigikogu main hall for discussion ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

The riigikogu sitting on Monday, December 14, where the marriage referendum bill passed its first reading.
The riigikogu sitting on Monday, December 14, where the marriage referendum bill passed its first reading. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The Riigikogu will likely decide on what to do with the opposition's protests regarding amendments to the marriage referendum bill and the following discussion in the constitutional committee in Toompea Castle's main Session hall on Wednesday.

Both parliamentary opposition parties - Reform and Social Democratic Party (SDE) - have presented a protest to the Riigikogu board. Both parties have inquired for an explanation on what basis the constitutional committee chairman was allowed to arrange an virtual meeting instead of a physical sitting.

Speaker of the Riigikogu Henn Põlluaas (EKRE) said arranging a virtual meeting was completely justified: "There is no other way to stuff a Riigikogu member's mouth. You cannot call the police, cannot call security to remove them from the room - a Riigikogu envoy is untouchable. It only leaves the option of conducting the sitting virtually and if someone violates the order, you can turn their microphone off."

Põlluaas said it is doubtful if any of the opposition's 9,400 amendments to the marriage referendum bill are worthy of discussion at all.

"It is quite odd if MPs present protests over their amendments of allowing women to eat before men or if we should ban sunglasses, as Yoko Alender (Reform) and Erkki Keldo (Reform) have. Do they deserve an in-depth discussion? I think the constitutional commitee's decision to allocate time for presentations for the amendments is completely justified," the Riigikogu chairman said.

Põlluaas added that the protests will be discussed at a Riigikogu board meeting on Tuesday.

Helir-Valdor Seeder (Isamaa), the Riigikogu's first deputy chairman, said he thinks reaching a consensus is impossible: "The board's experience has largely been that the board will look at the Riigikogu as a whole and in very rare cases, where it divides into a coalition and opposition," Seeder said.

Riigikogu's Reform Party deputy chairman Siim Kallas is skeptical of reaching a consensus as well: "We have succeeded in reaching a consensus in these questions quite rarely."

If the Riigikogu's board does not reach a consensus on the topic of protests, Põlluaas said it will be put to a Riigikogu vote on Wednesday, before the second reading of the marriage referendum bill.

Constitutional committee member Hanno Pevkur said that if Reform's protests are not upheld, the political group can turn to constitutional surveillance and the Chancellor of Justice, if necessary.

"The Supreme Court will decide if proceedings are initiated. If this road roller continues, reaches the Session hall and the main hall will make a [negative] decision, we will turn to the justice chancellor for an assessment if the procedure has been legal or not. And if the procedure has not been legal, then the justice chancellor has the right to turn to the constitutional surveillance of the Riigikogu for a violation of procedure norms," Pevkur said.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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