President calls on parties to find solution and move forward

President Alar Karis.
President Alar Karis. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The coalition and opposition parties should refrain from escalating the situation in the Riigikogu and find a way forward together, said President Alar Karis on Wednesday, commenting on the breakdown of work in the parliament.

"I see the despair and frustration of many people in Estonia as to what is happening in our domestic politics because the government and the opposition are locked in such a fierce confrontation in Toompea that there seems to be no room for any kind of reconciliation and compromise," said Karis. 

The head of state said, in democracies, the opposition has the important job of holding the government to account and providing alternative solutions. But it must also allow the passing of legislation by a majority and give the coalition the opportunity to implement its policies.

He pointed out the coalition also has an obligation to "publicly justify its decisions and explain the choices made" using evidence and involving interest groups.

"Then the government's decisions are clear, debated in public. This is something I stressed at the opening session of the new Riigikogu in April this year, and it bears repeating," said Karis.

The president said he disapproved of some of the language used by MPs in recent weeks and that politicians should refrain from insulting one another.

He also said the government's decision to link the adoption of several draft laws with a vote of confidence has divided opinion and holds consequences for the future.

"I would ask the political parties to remember - this is about the credibility of a democratically elected parliament," the president concluded.

The vote of no confidence in the coalition failed on Wednesday afternoon and the amendments to the bill were passed.

The Riigikogu's work has been blocked for several weeks after the opposition submitted hundreds of amendments to legislation changing benefits for large families.


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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Helen Wright

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