Presidential advisor: Family Benefits Act proclamation not being delayed

The Estonian president's official Christmas card for 2022 was designed by young Estonian illustrator and Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA) student Katariina Kesküla.
The Estonian president's official Christmas card for 2022 was designed by young Estonian illustrator and Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA) student Katariina Kesküla. Source: Office of the President

Toomas Sildam, advisor to President of Estonia Alar Karis, has rejected a claim by the Center Party, that the head of state will delay the proclamation into law of the Family Benefits Act, which was adopted by the Riigikogu two weeks ago. According to Sildam, the president is acting in full accordance with his duties as outlined in the Constitution.

"The Riigikogu adopted the draft law on increasing family benefits two weeks ago, yet the President of the Republic is delaying the proclamation of the law," Jaanus Karilaid, Center's Riigikogu chief whip, said on Wednesday.

"The president is not delaying, but acting in accordance with the Constitution. According to the Constitution, the President of the Republic must make his decision by December 22 at the latest. The head of state will use the time given to him, purposefully," Sildam told ERR on Wednesday.

Sildaim declined to say what decision the President would take regarding the Family Benefits Act.

At the same time, Karilaid suggested the possibility of convening a meeting of the representatives of the five Riigikogu parties "in order to jointly overcome any possible obstacles."

"When deciding on the proclamation of a law, the president's main partner is currently his legal adviser. He will certainly also continue to be in regular contact with the leaders of the Riigikogu parties," said Sildam in response to Karilaid's suggestion.

The Riigikogu adopted the Family Benefits Act on December 7. 76 of the 90 Riigikogu members present voted in favor of the law's adoption.

Under the act, allowances for the first and second child will increase from €60 to €80 per month from January 1. Family's with three to six children will see an increase in allowance from €300 to €650 per month, while those with seven or more children will receive €850 monthly, where previously they received €400.

The law has faced criticism on the grounds that the allowance per-child is several times higher for large families, than for those with up to two children.

According to the Constitution, laws are proclaimed by the President of the Republic of Estonia. The president may refuse to proclaim a law, which has been passed by the Riigikogu, and return it for further debate within 14 days of it having been received.

If the Riigikogu passes the law once again without any amendments, the President of the Republic can either proclaim the law, or make a proposal to the Supreme Court to declare the law unconstitutional. If, however, the Supreme Court rules that the law is constitutional, the president must then proclaim it. 


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Editor: Michael Cole

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