The Riigikogu sitting to conduct the second reading of the controversial family benefits bill that started on Wednesday has lasted through the night and is still in progress. The Wednesday sitting will be ended at 10 a.m. with deliberations continuing straight away as the Thursday session.
By 8.20 a.m. on Thursday, the Riigikogu had gotten to voting on the Reform Party's 45th proposal to amend out of thousands. Reform whip Mart Võrklaev, in charge of the obstruction effort, was relieved by Heidi Purga at around 7 a.m.
Reform MPs who oppose the bill that would hike family and child benefits and create additional pressure of roughly €300 million on the state budget, are taking a 10-minute break between each vote.
According to Riigikogu rules and procedures, the Wednesday sitting can run until 10 a.m. on Thursday at which time that day's session will pick up where the previous one left off.
The Riigikogu Social Affairs Committee on Monday proposed concluding the second reading at the Wednesday sitting.
The Wednesday session began with a presentation by committee member Tõnis Mölder (Center) that was followed by deliberations and finally proposals to amend that can be put to vote individually if the proposing MP so wishes.
The Reform Party has registered over 1,600 proposals to amend the bill.
The bill to considerably hike family and child benefits, especially for third and consecutive children, was initiated with the votes of the opposition and the Center Party that was until recently Reform's partner in Estonia's ruling coalition. This and other clashes between the two ruling parties saw Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) dismiss all Center Party ministers from government on Friday, June 3, leaving Estonia with a minority government.
Editor: Marcus Turovski