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Tallinn city council chambers to hold regular question time sessions

A Tallinn city council chambers session in progress, with Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (standing) and Council Chair Jevgeni Ossinovski.
A Tallinn city council chambers session in progress, with Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (standing) and Council Chair Jevgeni Ossinovski. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Tallinn city council is rolling out a new regular question time session on Thursdays, which will give deputies the chance to quiz the city government on its policies and practices.

City council chair Jevgeni Ossinovski (SDE) says setting up a question time session, in Estonian called an "info hour" and also viewable online for the public, is part of a wider democracy promotion package.

He said: "I have set myself the task of increasing the quality of democratic politics at Tallinn city council chambers."

"The chance to obtain functional information on topical issues vital, in order to fulfill the monitoring aspect of the city government's activities and to represent the interests of the voters.

"Compared with city council sessions, which last for hours, the question time format is also compact, which makes it easier for journalists and other interested parties to keep up to date with politically relevant issues in the capital," Ossinovski went on.

The question time sessions are largely based on the Riigikogu's variant of the same practice and take place Thursdays 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

City deputies can file their questions in advance, and will get to probe members of the executive on their field of activity, as well as other issues facing the capital.

The inaugural agenda includes questions on the capital's transition to Estonian-language education, cycle lane demarcation, kindergarten places, Soviet-era monuments and more.

The session (in Estonian) can be followed live here.

Tallinn City Government consists of a coalition of the Center Party and the Social Democrats, with Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) as Mayor, and seven deputy mayors, who each have a specific area of responsibility.

The Reform Party, Eesti 200, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and Isamaa are all in opposition in Tallinn.

There is nothing barring Riigikogu MPs from also holding a local government seat, which around half of them do. Since Tallinn City Council is a short walk down the hill from the Riigikogu, this is a more practical means of carrying out this dual role.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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