Isamaa MP wants Riigikogu council of elders to address Kallas issue

Helir-Valdor Seeder.
Helir-Valdor Seeder. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Isamaa's chief whip at the Riigikogu Helir-Valdor Seeder has called for parliament to convene its council of elders over Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) declining to appear before a joint select committee session Tuesday.

Seeder, a former Isamaa leader, has addressed a letter to the board of the Riigikogu, asking it to additionally convene a meeting of the council of elders, which comprises the board of the Riigikogu (the speaker and his two deputies), and the chief whips of each of the six represented parties.

The council of elders had been convened before the summer recess at a time when government bills were subject to an extensive opposition filibuster.

The letter stated that: "I am approaching you for your help in taking all the necessary measures to ensure that Prime Minister Kaja Kallas fulfills the obligation arising from the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia to appear before the Riigikogu as a representative of the executive power to report on her activities."

"During the Riigikogu's sessions, the work of the Parliament is organized mainly through committees. So far, the Prime Minister has already refused several commissions. from showing up," the letter said. 

"The prime minister's refusal to cooperate with the Riigikogu committees and the implementation of obstruction in this way, which hinders parliamentary supervision, has led Estonia towards a constitutional crisis, exacerbating an already dire situation. Therefore, I appeal to the board of the Riigikogu to additionally convene a meeting of the council of elders, in order that all political parties represented at the Riigkogu can, jointly and severally, find a solution to ensure the implementation of constitutionality, the proper functioning of the Riigikogu's committees and the Riigikogu's effective work."

Seeder added that the prime minister's decisions thus far in the scandal, caused by her own actions, have been irresponsible and unacceptable. "The fact that the prime minister, as a representative of the executive branch, refuses to come and give explanations before the committees of the legislature, i.e. the Riigikogu, is an unprecedented step in the history of Estonia since it restored independence," Seeder added.

A joint sitting scheduled for tomorrow featuring the State Budget Control Select Committee and the Riigikogu Anti-Corruption Select Committee.

The session has been called on an emergency basis, since the Riigikogu is still on its summer break.

Kaja Kallas has already said she will not be attending, saying that the committees are not relevant to state budget issues and that she has been and will continue to be answering questions on the matter, before the Riigikogu as well as to the media.

Other invited parties are: Director General of the Tax and Customs Board (EMTA) Raigo Uukkivi, CEO of Metaprint AS Martti Lemendik, CEO of Stark Logistics, and a representative of the National Audit Office (Riigikontroll).

Stark Logistics CEO Kristjan Kraag has also said that he will not participate in the session, which will examine the topic of business activities with and in Russia during war time, ie. since February 2022.

Chair of the Anti-Corruption Select Committee Mart Helme (EKRE) said Monday that the prime minister has a legal obligation to attend committee meetings to which she has been summoned.

Maris Lauri (Reform), deputy chair of the state budget control committee, meanwhile said the matter could be discussed by other committees

Riigikogu Speaker Lauri Hussar (Eesti 200) told ERR Monday that a member of the government is obliged to attend a committee meeting upon being summonsed, though this has to be balanced with other obligations in the case of the prime minister.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Aleksander Krjukov

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