Government could tie opposition-rejected bills to a vote of confidence

Mart Võrklaev.
Mart Võrklaev. Source: Jürgen Randma / riigikantselei

In an effort to prevent tax hikes and cuts to family benefits, the opposition parties have submitted about 1,500 amendments to three of the objectionable bills. Presumably, the coalition will tie the bills to a vote of confidence.

On Monday, Martin Helme, the leader of EKRE, appeared at the Riigikogu with five maps filled with papers. It contained revisions to tax increases and family benefit cutbacks. There are about 200 proposals for each measure, totaling over a 1,000. Four tax law amendments reached the Riigikogu Finance Committee.

"The income tax is here. VAT is here. Here we have excise and gambling tax. Should they be added then? - To all taxes!"

The final batch of documents was delivered to the Riigikogu Social Affairs Committee, which manages family benefits. There are countless proposals that are both substantive and obstructionist.

Helme said, "We are not concealing the fact that we believe the bills that have been introduced here should be thwarted. This process could be ended if the governing parties are willing to sit down and discuss our so-called substantive proposals," Helme said. "If the government continues its road-roller policy it will have to face the fact that there will be a frightening storm in the Riigikogu for every single bill."

Isamaa plans to submit about 100 proposals for each draft law, both substantive and procedural, Helir-Valdor Seeder, the party leader said.

The Center Party stands out in that they will only submit a few dozen substantive amendments. "The goal of the Center Party is to ensure a substantive debate," Tanel Kiik, the faction leader of the Center Party, said. "If we submit hundreds or thousands of amendments with similar content, it is rather easy for the coalition to claim that it does not want a debate and to simply call for a vote of confidence in the draft. This is not what we want."

Now, the opposition expects the government to discuss all of the proposals, while the coalition may opt for a vote of confidence.

Finance Minister Mart Võrklaev (Reform) said, "I dare say there was a substantive debate in the Riigikogu during the first reading. It lasted for hours; there were many questions and I provided explanations on my side."

Võrklaev did not say that these bills would not be tied to a vote of confidence.

"No, I cannot say that, but there is no need to submit thousands or hundreds of substantial proposals. Let's discuss them. If there are substantive ones, they should be considered; if there are hundreds of meaningless ones and the goal is to halt work, the coalition will have to make its own decisions," Võrklaev said.


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Editor: Mari Peegel, Kristina Kersa

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