Riigikogu leaders don't see violations in marriage bill proceedings

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Henn Põlluaas. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

President of the Riigikogu, Henn Põlluaas (EKRE) and Vice-President Helir-Valdor Seeder (Isamaa) say don't find that the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act was breached during the Constitutional Committee meetings held last week, where the amendments for the marriage referendum bill were discussed. They add that binding thousands of amendment proposals into one proposal is lawful.

Opposition members have submitted over ten protests to the Board of the Riigikogu regarding the meetings. The head of the Constitutional Committee, Anti Poolamets (EKRE), set a time limit of five minutes for each member presenting his or her proposals. The members of the opposition considered this a procedures violation.

Opposition members also weren't satisfied with the fact that Poolamets held the meeting virtually, to retain control over the process. Põlluaas said that this isn't breaching the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act because, in his opinion, the aim of the act is to make the process smoother, whereas the opposition's goal was to stop the parliament's work by tabling thousands of amendment proposals, he says.

"Obstruction is a tool of the opposition, for sure, but it should remain sensible; it can't start stopping the parliament's work," Põlluaas said.

Seeder said that the head of the committee based his actions on maintaining the Riigikogu's work capacity.

Helir-Valdor Seeder, also leader of the Isamaa party, said: "The committee chair will organize the meeting so that the Riigikogu is able to work properly."

Seeder said that grouping thousands of amendments into five categories is not a violation of the law either. He said that similar groupings have been made in the past, and the legality of the decisions of the Riigikogu can be checked by other institutions.

"The Chancellor of Justice has the right to protest, look through things if there's a contradiction with the act. The Supreme Court can proceed if the Chancellor of Justice, or a member of the Riigikogu approaches it. These mechanisms exist, and the members of the Supreme Court are definitely neutral in assessing the situation," Seeder said.

Siim Kallas, the other Riigikogu Vice-President and a member of the Reform Party, said that the coalition has two options - to look for compromise or to ride roughshod over the opposition.

The Chancellor of Justice hasn't made any official statement yet.

Jõks: tying to gorup the amendments may be illegal

Former Chancellor of Justice and lawyer Allar Jõks says that in his opinion, grouping the amendments and dividing them into five may be in fact contravene the regulations. He adds, however, that it is for the Chancellor of Justice to decide whether there is material misconduct to be brought before the Supreme Court.

"Not every violation gives the Chancellor of Justice the right to go to the Supreme Court. It must be important. In this case, it seems to me that tying this bundle to five and voting for five amendments may be illegal," Jõks said.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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