Kivimägi: Court ruling for opposition would have meant anarchy in Riigikogu

Toomas Kivimägi.
Toomas Kivimägi. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Riigikogu deputy speaker Toomas Kivimägi (Reform) said, that if the Supreme Court of Estonia had ruled in favor of the opposition following their appeal, it would have brought anarchy to the Riigikogu. Kivimägi now expects the opposition to withdraw the bills and questions that they had tabled for filibustering purposes.

"After all, the Supreme Court has made a crucially important decision. If the Supreme Court had ruled the other way, it would have completely shut down the parliament. The opposition would then not have been limited to these issues, they would have had a lot more power to think of new things and to limit the powers of the board. So, in that sense it would have been anarchy," Kivimägi told ERR.

"There couldn't be better news for Midsummer, and I don't think I've ever had such a nice Midsummer in terms of my professional career as the one I'm about to have," Kivimägi said.

"I was really convinced of this, and I have expressed it publicly on several occasions. There are two points here. First, is the Riigikogu's right to self-regulate. And the second is Section 13, paragraph two, point 18 of the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act, which I have quoted many, many times. And indeed, this provision says that the Board of the Riigikogu has the power to decide on the application of the Rules of Procedure of the Riigikogu, as well as other laws," he explained.

"What I have said on a great number of occasions is, for what else, if not how long bills and questions can be submitted? Since this is not specified in the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act, it is not possible for only one of the points laid out in the Constitution, for example the right to table motions for debate, to take precedence over the other duties and obligations in the Constitution."

According to Kivimägi, the Supreme Court's decision will not make him become disdainful towards the opposition, but he will instead continue to seek balance and compromise. He also now expects the opposition to withdraw the bills and questions they had tabled for obstructionist purposes.

"I'm obviously delighted with the decision. But we need to work well together for at least another three and a half years, at least with this composition. My greatest expectation is that the opposition will withdraw the bills and questions tabled for obstruction purposes. I now see much more room for good cooperation between the opposition and the coalition and for the parliament to function effectively," he added.

"I certainly do not intend to take advantage of the Supreme Court's decision to somehow further restrict the opposition. We do not have that aim. The aim is for the opposition and the coalition to work together normally and for both sides to have the opportunity to express their rights and interests," Kivimägi said.

The Supreme Court of Estonia opted not to hear an officially complaint launched by the Riigikogu opposition parties in response to decisions taken in parliament, which made it impossible for them to continue filibustering.

The Supreme Court also rejected the opposition's appeal against decisions made by the Riigikogu on May 15, 16 and 22 to stop accepting new bill submissions and interpellation requests from opposition MPs. This effectively ended the opposition's filibustering, an approach they had taken to prevent the government passing certain bills.

On May 17, representatives of the opposition (EKRE, the Center Party and Isamaa) said that they would challenge the decisions to quash their filibustering in Estonia's top court. The opposition's legal counsel Paul Keres said on May 25 that they did not wish to disclose the text of the complaint, which has nevertheless since been leaked.

Opposition MPs claimed that their right to pursue parliamentary obstruction tactics had been violated when MPs from the governing coalition (Reform, Eesti 200 and the Social Democratic Party) voted in favor of accepting no more bills or interpellations into proceedings.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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