Riigikogu re-appoints Janar Holm as auditor general

Janar Holm was appointed for another five years as Auditor General.
Janar Holm was appointed for another five years as Auditor General. Source: Riigikogu Press Office/Erik Peinar

The Riigikogu voted in favor of appointing Auditor General Janar Holm to a second five-year term on Tuesday, with 61 votes in favor and 14 against.

Holm told the Riigikogu that while the past five years had been out of the ordinary, in general the issues facing the Estonian state had remained the same, though many of them had become even more acute.

He said: "Five years ago, I emphasized here that it is important that the National Audit Office (Riigikontroll) look into the core functions of the state which most concern people's lives: health care, the organization of education, and social welfare. Infrastructure developments, large investments, energy, and the development of defense capabilities are resource-intensive."

"The National Audit Office has sent a number of reports on all these issues to the Riigikogu. All these issues should also be in the focus of the National Audit Office in the future as well. On top of that, there are the issues of how clear the distribution of our money is and how understandable the state budget is for decision-makers," Holm went on, according to a Riigikogu press release.

The secret ballot saw 61 MPs vote in favor of Holm's reappointment, and 14 opposed, at the 101-seat chamber.

MP Henn Põlluaas (EKRE) took the floor during the related debate.

Bill adjudged by president to treat registered partners unequally is canned

While the XIV Riigikogu is in its final days as the March 5 election approaches, other parliamentary business conducted Wednesday included deliberations on the Act on Amendments to the Foreign Service Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts.

President Alar Karis had, in line with his constitutional right, declined to promulgate the legislation, finding that it was in conflict with the Constitution due to its prescribing that the spousal allowance for the spouse of an Estonian official employed in a foreign mission on a long-term assignment abroad is not payable to an official's partner, in the under the understanding of the Registered Partnership Act.

In short, the head of state found the act engendered unequal treatment, by providing allowances to the married partners of diplomats, but not to partners cohabiting under definition of the partnership act, also known as the cohabitation act.

The Riigikogu's Constitutional Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee moved not to pass the Act without amendments, while the Riigikogu hall supported that move, voting 35 to 21 against passing of the Act unamended.

Meanwhile, Janar Holm stressed the importance of the green transition as a process that concerns all areas of life, whose sheer scale is in fact difficult to grasp.

The state might become more sector-based and specific in that sphere, in relation to the energy sector, transport, agriculture, waste management, construction, and industry, to bring clarity, including to business and society, Holm, who first took office in April 2018, told the chamber.

Last December, President Karis proposed Holm continue to head up the National Audit Office for another five-year term. His current term is set to end April 8.

New Supreme Court justice appointed

Other Riigikogu business Wednesday saw a new Supreme Court justice appointed.

Margit Vutt, who had been a Tartu Circuit Court of Appeal judge hitherto, was appointed to the Supreme Court bench by 55 votes to 10.

Vutt's appointment followed a competitive process to find a Supreme Court justice after the top court had at the end of last November decided to release Peeter Jerofejev from office, as of July 15.

The XIV Riigikogu's last working day is Thursday, February 23. Advance voting for the XV Riigikogu starts the following Monday.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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