Riigikogu to return to Toompea sessions next week
Riigikogu sittings are to resume in-person at Toompea Castle from next Monday amid falling coronavirus rates and the related easing of restrictions. This will continue to mid-June, when the house will be on a long recess ahead of a busy autumn of two elections.
No sitting is taking place this week in any case, while parliament breaks up for summer on June 17, meaning there will be three weeks of sessions – which had been held remotely since March – in the chamber.
While normally MPs would return for regular scheduled parliamentary sessions at the beginning of September, this year the date is put back to September 13 to give members time to canvass potential voters ahead of October's local elections.
Since the presidential elections also take place this autumn and start at the end of August, MPs in any case have to return to the chamber for this process, which sees several rounds of balloting, followed by voting in the regional electoral colleges should the Riigikogu draw a blank from among the candidates.
At present only one candidate, academic Tarmo Soomere, has declared so far, with media speculation rife over a showdown between sitting incumbent Kersti Kaljulaid – who has hinted that she may run for a second consecutive term – and former prime minister and current Riigikogu speaker, Jüri Ratas.
Riigikogu business continued remotely, with several significant bills passing readings during that time including controversial amendments which give the police enhanced powers in monitoring compliance with coronavirus restrictions.
One of the other highlights of remote work was without doubt Tarmo Kruusimäe's vaping interlude during ministerial question time.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte