Riigikogu can start processing opposition's amendments in September

Riigikogu. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Riigikogu will start processing hundreds of amendments submitted by the opposition parties to block legislation if they are not withdrawn, the Riigikogu's deputy chairman said on Tuesday.

After a meeting with the Riigikogu Elders Council, Toomas Kivimägi (Reform) told ERR the council hopes to start the autumn session with a clean slate.

But, he said, if the opposition does not withdraw the hundreds of amendments it submitted, the board will start processing them in the order they were filed.

"If this stack is ahead of us, then it is perfectly logical to assume that we will take those that are older," the deputy chairman said.

Kivimägi said he had asked EKRE, Center, and Isamaa to withdraw their submissions or to find out which could be answered with a written reply.

"If this written answer satisfies the questioners, the questioner can simply withdraw the question," he said.

Toomas Kivimägi. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The deputy chairman said if the opposition wants to call an extraordinary session at the of August, then the coalition is prepared to do so. But the three parties must first put forward 35 of the necessary 51 MPs to call a meeting, he said, adding the coalition will provide the rest.

The coalition is not willing to reverse legislation it has already passed, Kivimägi said, but agreements could be found on future bills.

The council will discuss the topic again in early August and the first meeting of the Riigikogu's autumn session will take place on September 11.

Kivimägi said that EKRE's representative was not present at Tuesday's meeting and that Chairman Martin Helme sent a corresponding letter to the board. 

"Martin Helme has made it clear that there can be no normal parliamentary work until the same-sex Marriage Act and the Cohabitation Act are repealed," he said.

Helme could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Jüri Ratas Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Center Party Chairman Jüri Ratas said he is discussing a possible compromise with the party and may be willing to withdraw the amendments submitted by the party.

"We are discussing this in the Group. But what is clear is that it is reasonable to withdraw these identical questions to 13 ministers. But the substantive questions and also the draft laws should be processed," said Ratas.

"This kind of stalemate does no credit to Estonian politics and the parliament. It needs to be resolved and can be resolved by the coalition and the opposition together," said Ratas.

But Ratas was not optimistic that the Riigikogu would start with a completely clean slate in September.

"I think that this willingness [to compromise]. is there in the Center group, the question is what is the concrete offer from the coalition, this has not been the case today," he said.

The opposition submitted hundreds of amendments earlier this year in an effort to stop the Coalition from passing legislation that raised taxes, cut benefits for large families, and legalized same-sex marriage.


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Editor: : Aleksander Krjukov, Helen Wright

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