Opposition angered by coalition quickly sending bills to Riigikogu

Riigikogu members.
Riigikogu members. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Opposition parties are not satisfied with the speed at which the coalition sends draft bills to committees and their first readings, saying they do not have adequate time to review them. The government disagrees.

Andre Hanimägi (Center) highlighted the example of the same-sex marriage bill sent to Rigiikogu members on Monday in Thursday's "Aktuaalne kaamera".

"At 10 p.m. in the evening, more than 200 pages of explanatory memorandum, more than 80 laws that will change, came to the members of the Legal Affairs Committee and at 2 o'clock the next day, the committee was debating the issue. We can see that this is a total rush," he said.

SDE's Priit Lomp said the issue of same-sex marriage has been debated for years. 

"Honestly, it worries me when I come to work every morning and see how many different households are being hurt by words. The placards that fly there. This debate has been going on for 10 years and we could stop hurting people," he said.

The MP added that the laws have been made quickly as the announcement of the election results, which were questioned by EKRE, was delayed as well as the obstruction of the Riigikogu by the opposition.

He said tax changes are happening quickly because they were announced in advance.

"It is logical that, if some tax changes are to be made from January 1, 2024, they must be processed before July 1 this year," he said.

Priit Sibul (Isamaa) said several bills have been rushed, including the amendment of family benefits.

"There have been 72 hours to coordinate the proposals with the target groups. This is all unprecedented and outrageous," he said.

Reform's Maris Lauri, a former justice minister, said that the committee has 10 days to make changes and consult with interest groups.

"We would like to follow precisely the regulation as it is laid down, in order to carry out these debates and participation, in order to compensate also for the fact that the preparatory process for the bills before they reached the Riigikogu was indeed a bit short," said Lauri.

Sibul was not happy with this answer: "Since there are no meaningful analyzes and it is not possible to create clarity and impact analyzes in the parliament within 10 days, it really does not matter that we have been given 10 days."

Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise said on Wednesday that members of the Riigikogu must be given enough time to understand the details of each draft.

"It would be a very important step towards improving Estonia's political culture if the coalition politicians would similarly understand that they too have an oath of office, which they have given, and that they too have a responsibility to ensure that there are no mistakes in these bills and that no damage is done to Estonian society after their adoption and entry into force," said Madise.

Sibul and Hanimägi said that the opposition must decide how many amendments to submit and whether and for which drafts to obstruct.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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