Põlluaas: Supreme Court ruling was biased

Henn Põlluaas.
Henn Põlluaas. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Former Riigikogu speaker and current member of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia's (EKRE) Riigikogu group Henn Põlluaas, considers the Supreme Court's decision to throw out the opposition's appeal to be biased and its handling of the issue inadequate. Põlluaas also put forward the idea of replacing Supreme Court judges with "more competent" ones.

"I think that the Supreme Court failed to do its job, because the task of the Supreme Court is to monitor constitutionality," Põlluaas told ERR.

"The Supreme Court somehow assumed that the opposition had filibustered in order to obstruct the work of the Riigikogu. This is absolutely wrong. We were filibustering precisely to ensure the constitutionality of the parliament, the preservation of our parliamentarianism and to prevent the Riigikogu from simply becoming a rubber stamp [(institution]," Põlluaas said.

"We filibustered because a government of liars had come up with a whole range of different bills for which they had not requested a mandate. The filibuster was done in order to prevent an illegal procedure and in this way to prevent [these bills] from being pushed through by a vote of confidence, which is completely unprecedented," he added.

"In this respect, it could be said that the Supreme Court was completely biased, because they only mentioned in passing that these votes of confidence should not be overplayed. However, they have quite clearly gone beyond all reasonable boundaries," he continued.

"The representatives of the Supreme Court have said that they have been put in an uncomfortable position, by being the ones, who should have to settle these matters. That this should all be a matter for the Riigikogu to regulate by itself. However, the Riigikogu is not in a position to resolve these issues in a self-regulating way, because we have a majority in the coalition and they are simply running over the opposition. That is why we turned to the Supreme Court and now the Supreme Court is pointing the finger at the Riigikogu. The Supreme Court has clearly failed to do its job," Põlluaas said.

"All this is the direct responsibility of the Supreme Court. If they feel uncomfortable in this role, I don't know whether we should start discussing personnel, appointing more competent Supreme Court judges, who will not simply not do their jobs just because they feel uncomfortable," Põlluaas added.

ERR asked Põlluaas, who he believes has the power to influence Estonia's independent Supreme Court. "Are you joking or what? Of course, those who have turned it into a rubber stamp [(institution] for the Riigikogu. Those who have ruled out any kind of discussion or dialogue in the Riigikogu. The opposition is absolutely not taken into account. None of the compromises we have proposed have been considered," Põlluaas replied.

According to Põlluaas, the Supreme Court's decision means the deadlock in the Riigikogu will continue.

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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