Riigikogu needs extra sessions to answer all obstruction queries

Riigikogu Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Riigikogu will likely need to schedule extra summer sessions to answer all questions submitted by the opposition to obstruct its work last week.

Chairman of the Riigikogu Lauri Hussar (Eesti 200) said at least half of the queries are junk and he has returned approximately 70.

"The main problem is that the addressees of the questions are not correct, the subject is not correct and they simply do not comply with the format of the questions," Hussar said.

"I would venture to guess that perhaps ultimately at least half of the questions put to the Riigikogu are flawed."

Five hundred queries were submitted in total and approximately half have been dealt with.

The chairman of the Riigikogu decides whether the question is addressed to the right person or not.

Reform Party Chairman and Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said most of the questions put forward did not meet requirements.

"For example, if the minister of social protection is asked about car tax, it is not within her competence [to answer]," she said.

Another example given by Hussar was a question from Isamaa's Riina Solman who asked Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets (SDE) why he wanted to raise VAT. Hussar said this question does not concern the minister's area of responsibility.

However, opposition Center Party Chairman Jüri Ratas said most of the questions submitted are substantive and the government should answer them in the parliament.

"It is also clear that there is very much a political dimension to these questions and the opposition's last straw that child allowances and family benefits should not be cut. There is obstructionism here as well," he said.

"In fact, what we need today is a political agreement to put an end to this obstructionism, part of which, of course, could be that a number of the questions are withdrawn."

Answers can also be submitted in writing rather than in person in front of MPs in the Riigikogu, said Hussar.

Ratas said questions must be answered within 20 session days.

"And if we are talking about regular session days, 20 session days will be completed between September 13 and 15," Ratas said.

"If there are extraordinary sessions in the summer between sessions, they will not count towards the 20 session days," he added.

EKRE's Anti Poolamets said the opposition intends to carry on submitting inquiries.

Hussar said the Riigikogu must make an effort to process the inquiries. "This will mean both regular meetings, but probably also additional meetings. We can't avoid it," he said.

The opposition is trying to stall changes to the family benefits system which will reduce support for large families.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

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