Twenty-eight MPs were new to the XV Riigikogu

The Riigikogu's White Hall.
The Riigikogu's White Hall. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Over a quarter of the XV Riigikogu's 101 MPs are newcomers, and ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) caught up with three of these, a week into the new jobs.

Toompea Castle, seat of the Riigikogu, is not a very difficult place to get lost in given its labyrinthine layout, but one newcomer to parliament, Professor Irja Lutsar (Eesti 200) does not let that faze her.

Lutsar, a University of Tartu virologist who rose to prominence during the Covid pandemic, when she headed the government's scientific council, said: "Everything here is new, but new is always exciting and we all want a bit of excitement."

"I had those times during my earlier working life when six o'clock in the evening rolled round, and I realized that I hadn't even eaten breakfast yet. I have been working in such stressful roles all my working life that these things don't discourage me," she went on, adding that her time as head of the government's Covid advisory body had been good training for dealing with the realities of politics.

Lutsar ran in the Tartu and Jõgeva counties electoral district and sees home as still being in Tartu, even as she has been living in the capital since the pandemic.

She said she sees those times when the Riigikogu is not sitting as an opportunity to meet constituents, and added that she is still supervising a few doctoral students and is also involved in a research project at the university.

Irja Lutsar (left) at the Riigikogu, with another new MP, Karmen Joller (Reform). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

"The Lux Express bus drivers have all been saying hello to me for a long time," she joked.

Pipi-Liis Siemann (Reform), polled at almost 2,500 votes in Järva and Viljandi counties.

As a former mayor of Türi (when she was a member of Isamaa), he had come into contact with the Riigikogu before and the new post is a natural progression to her political career, but the first sitting also brought her fresh perspectives.

"There could be more content and paragraphs. In other words, in coming from local government and also seeing the other new colleagues' reactions, then perhaps this is not the most efficient use of inexperienced people's time, and I hope very much that this doesn't happen a lot."

Pipi-Liis Siemann at the Riigikogu. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Siemann is still eligible to sit in Türi's council legislature and says she will continued to do so, adding that education issues, both there and at the national level, will continue to remain close to her heart.

Lauri Laats (Center) also moved from local government. In this case, he had to give up his post – local government members may not sit at the Riigikogu simultaneously – as district elder of the Mustamäe and Nõmme neighborhood of Tallinn.

As such Laats was a "vote magnet", but this did not mean his first few days on Toompea had not been daunting.

"I even felt little anxiety inside, like on the first day of school, with that feeling of coming to a new workplace, to see what will happen next and where," he said.

Lauri Laats (Center). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Laats had also made use of a helpful building plan given out to those unfamiliar with the Riigikogu.

In case of disputes, Laats said he will bring some of the "Mustamäe spirit" to parliament, as mandated to by his voters, by which he meant conducting things in a more civilized and constructive manner than has been the case.

The incoming Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition ministers are set to take their oath before the Riigikogu this week.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Aleksander Krjukov

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera. Nädal.

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