Toompea Castle prepares for arrival of the XV Riigikogu

Toompea Castle (Toompea loss), seat of Estonia's parliament, the Riigikogu.
Toompea Castle (Toompea loss), seat of Estonia's parliament, the Riigikogu. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Work is ongoing to prepare Toompea Castle for the incoming XV Riigikogu composition, with some parties having to move offices, due to a return to a six-party parliament.

The Center Party has been bounced down to a smaller room, after its number of Riigikogu seats went down to 16 (compared with 26 won at the 2019 election), while Isamaa's MPs have also been relocated.

The Social Democrats (SDE) and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) MPs will remain where they are, as will Reform – which has been housed in a room close to the main chamber's public gallery almost since the party was founded in the 1990s.

Even then, Reform will have to find ways of accommodating three more MPs around the main meeting table, as the party's seat tally rose by that amount, to 37 MPs, at the 101-seat chamber.

Not only parties and MPs but also Riigikogu committees are to be relocated, in some cases.

At the same time, it is not a question of choosing the nicest office space you can find.

Argo Koppel, head of the Riigikogu office economic department, said: "It's not like you can do whatever you like. The office locations are drawn by lot. In other words, free office space is drawn randomly for distribution between MPs and party groups."

"As usual in the case of a change of Riigikogu compositions, we have to rearrange things inside the building, and this time arrangements were made so that the Rural Affairs Committee were moved to some new rooms, while Isamaa's group was also relocated."

Additionally, the accession of Eesti 200 to parliament – the party has 14 seats – means its MPs must be housed too.

Eesti 200 is set to get a room which had long been occupied by Isamaa, and before that, Res Publica, one of its two predecessor parties.

 Isamaa now has the lowest number of MPs (eight) of any of the represented parties.

 Naturally, the office spaces differ in size, location and view through the window, meaning some new MPs will have to negotiate the somewhat labyrinthian corridors, at least to begin with.

Renovation and redecoration work is going on, ahead of the XV Riigikogu's taking up its seats, likely any time from the end of the month through to early April.

 One of the XV Riigikogu's first tasks will be to vote on the Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition, which needs 51 votes to enter office.

While the three parties together have 60 seats, making this highly likely, they must first strike a coalition deal and sign it – this deal has been the subject of negotiations since just after the March 5 election.

Toompea Castle is open to the public at certain times for tours in English and observing debates and votes in the main chamber.

The English-language Riigikogu site is here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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