Riigikogu Board to form committee to manage opposition questions

Riigikogu sitting.
Riigikogu sitting. Source: Erik Peinar/Chancellery of the Riigikogu

This week, the Riigikogu begins responding to opposition questions, with the Board of the Riigikogu estimating that about 300 of the more than 500 queries will be answered. The speaker of Riigikogu, Lauri Hussar (Eesti 200), said that the board was considering forming a committee to address the questions.

The first weeks of the Riigikogu have been marked by a frenzy of questions and bills. On Monday, 519 queries were submitted with 42 still pending. More than 100 were denied on procedural grounds.

"Either the petition's recipient was not accurate, or the petition is more likely to be answered in writing, or a some other mistake was made; for example, there was a petition addressed to Minister of Economy Riina Sikkut (SDE), but Sikkut is no longer the minister of economy," Hussar explained.

Jaak Aab (Center) said the Center Party is willing to withdraw from part of the questions if the coalition makes substantial concessions, especially in regard to family benefits and tax reforms.

"I am aware of a search for compromises among interest groups, for example, regarding specific tax laws; there has not been any public discussion of this yet, but we will find out shortly. We are certainly going to propose amendments to these tax laws," Aab said.

Urmas Reinsalu, who is running for the leadership of Isamaa, criticized the decision of the board not to process some of the questions.

"This appears to be the path of least resistance," he said. "We will respond with whatever tools the parliamentary procedure affords us."

The Parliament will start answering the questions this week.

"In the long run, we will probably have to talk about forming a committee on the rules of procedure of the parliament," Hussar added. "This committee would deal with all questions of how the parliament's work could function, what constitutes a reasonable obstruction and how to organize the work so that we no longer have to discuss a complete shutdown of the parliament."

The opposition will file a case with the Supreme Court by Thursday, challenging the decision to limit MPs' ability to put forward bills and inquiries.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Kristina Kersa

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