Supreme Court publishes opposition's appeal after media request

Supreme Court of Estonia in Tartu.
Supreme Court of Estonia in Tartu. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Estonia's Supreme Court on Tuesday published an appeal submitted by opposition parties to quash Riigikogu decisions that put an end to their obstruction tactics, following requests from ERR and Delfi Media. They want the parliament's agenda reset to May 15.

The parties initially tried to keep the text out of the public domain.

The appeal, signed by 38 members of Isamaa, EKRE, and the Center Party, seeks the annulment of decisions taken on May 15 and 16 by the Riigikogu, which banned the submission of procedural queries regarding the adoption of the agenda and the referral of proposed motions.

"They consider that these decisions are contrary to the law and unlawful," Arno Põder, spokesman for the Supreme Court, said in a statement to ERR and Delfi.

"The complainants point out that procedural questions help members of the Riigikogu to understand the procedures in place in the work of the Riigikogu in situations where further explanations are needed. Therefore, limiting procedural questions hampers the effective exercise of their mandate," Põder added.

The speaker does not have the right to stop the opposition from submitting amendments, the opposition parties claimed.

"This right belongs equally to all members of the Riigikogu and no member of the Riigikogu can interfere with the right of another. The right to submit bills and questions is a central, constitutionally protected part of the mandate of a member of the Riigikogu, and the grounds and extent of its restriction must be precisely laid down by law," the complainants wrote.

The parties also believe the steps taken affect the legality of other sessions made during the week starting May 15 as they could not have been adopted without "restricting the rights of the complainants".

Põder wrote that if the contested decisions are annulled, the opposition parties believe work should restart from where it was on May 15.

"Then they would be able to exercise their rights in accordance with the law, and the Riigikogu would be able to resolve the deadlock again, but this time in a lawful manner, first and foremost by finding a compromise," Põder said.

Isamaa, EKRE and the Center Party have submitted more than 1,000 amendments to try and stop the passing of several bills that will hike taxes and cut family benefits.

The opposition says that its right to deploy obstruction tactics as part of the democratic process was hindered when MPs from the Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition, who make up a majority at the Riigikogu, voted in favor of ending the taking on of legislative amendments and inquiries.

The proposal to end the filibuster was made by the Board of the Riigikogu, Speaker Lauri Hussar (Eesti 200) and his two deputies.

The filibuster related to amendments to family law that would cut family benefits. This bill went on to pass its first reading.

The opposition's appeal has been signed by Martin Helme, Mart Helme, Helle-Moonika Helme, Arvo Aller, Ants Frosch, Rene Kokk, Anti Poolamets, Evelin Poolamets, Henn Põlluaas, Varro Vooglaid, Rain Epler, Kalle Grünthal, Kert Kingo, Siim Pohlak, Jaak Valge, Jaak Aab, Vadim Belobrovtsev, Enn Eesmaa, Andre Hanimägi, Alexei Yevgrafov, Jaanus Karilaid, Ester Karuse, Tanel Kiik, Andrei Korobeinik, Anastassia Kovalenko-Kõlvart, Lauri Laats, Tõnis Mölder, Jüri Ratas, Kersti Sarapuu, Aleksandr Chaplygin, Aivar Kokk, Tõnis Lukas, Mart Maasik, Andres Metsoja, Urmas Reinsalu, Helir-Valdor Seeder, Priit Sibul, and Riina Solman.


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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Helen Wright

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