Riigikogu works to midnight to approve 103 of 1,191 family bill amendments
The Riigikogu had voted on 103 of a total of 1,191 amendments to a bill which would raise family support benefits as of Monday night. The amendments are part of a filibuster brought on by the Reform Party, and the Riigikogu sitting ended just before midnight Monday.
The sitting will resume Tuesday.
Reform Party MPs sent around 2,000 amendments to the bill to the relevant Riigikogu body – the Social Affairs Committee – of which 1,191 were admitted for processing.
The Center Party brought the bill to the Riigikogu unilaterally last month, part of a deadlock in the erstwhile Reform-Center coalition which led to Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) dismissing Center's ministers from office the Friday before last.
Reform's chief whip at the Riigikogu Mart Võrklaev said Monday that the party will continue working against the bill, pending an agreement with opposition parties Isamaa and the Social Democrats (SDE) to form a new coalition.
The bill passed its first reading on May 30, having been tabled by Center, but also Isamaa, SDE and the other opposition party, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), making Reform the only party to hold out.
Reform stated at the time that it had already agreed with Center that the benefit raise would be discussed as part of the autumn's state budget discussions – the hike is estimated to cost around €300 million.
Four SDE MPs withdrew their signatures from the bill on June 1, while two days later, the prime minister dismissed the seven Center Party ministers from office.
Reform and SDE agreed to go into coalition negotiations within 24 hours of this, but needed Isamaa to join them in order to make up a Riigikogu majority.
Isamaa announced a week later – on Saturday June 12 – that they would enter talks with Reform and not with Center, who had made a similar offer, and EKRE.
The Riigikogu breaks up for summer recess this Thursday, June 16, though additional sittings can be called on an extraordinary basis thereafter.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte