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Riigikogu passes 4 bills out of 7 tied to confidence vote at night sitting

The Riigikogu.
The Riigikogu. Source: Erik Peinar/riigikogu kantselei

The Riigikogu passed four bills tied to a vote of confidence in the coalition, which means proposals to amend are not put to a vote, during a sitting that lasted all night.

During its sitting that started 2 p.m, Wednesday and ended Thursday morning, the Riigikogu passed four out of seven bills the coalition had previously promised to tie to a confidence vote, with the remaining three to be tackled during the Riigikogu's Thursday sitting.

Benefit for returning to Estonia to be scrapped

The Riigikogu passed amendments to the Social Welfare Act and other associated acts that will end the benefit for returning to Estonia from abroad from January 1, 2024 and discontinue it for people who have already returned and currently qualify starting from April 1, 2029. The benefit reaches just 36 people currently.

Another amendment passed governs pharmacists' start-up support measures, hiking the benefit to €15,000 over three years and €25,000 over five years as well as extending the benefit to nurses.

Amendments to the Health Insurance Act improve the social guarantees of parents of young children who will no longer be paid sickness benefits based on the minimum salary when coming out of the parental benefit period, basing the benefit instead on their previous year's parental benefit sum.

The fourth bill passed between Wednesday and Thursday changes the rules of electronic document delivery in tax-related matters, with documents considered delivered five working days after they are uploaded on the tax authority's website or sent in via email. Currently an official will have to see documents for them to be considered delivered.

The Riigikogu also amended the 2023 State Budget Act in terms of costs distribution and investments structure.

The reading of a bill to amend the medicines market by introducing a simpler procedure for returning medicines to pharmacies and giving pharmacies the right to issue Schengen certificates for traveling with certain kinds of medication was not finished during the Wednesday sitting, with deliberations to continue at the Thursday sitting.

Two more bills tied to a confidence vote will also be discussed during the Thursday sitting, which cover amendments to the Earth's Crust Act and to the Traffic Act and Road Transport Act.

Riigikogu refused to end the Wednesday sitting early

At around 1 a.m. Thursday, the Isamaa group of MPs proposed shortening the Wednesday sitting at ending it at 1:30 a.m. The proposal was voted down by 54 MPs.

Around 6:30 a.m. another proposal to end the sitting at 7:15 a.m. was made by Conservative People's Party (EKRE) MP Helle-Moonika Helme. Once more, the parliament rejected the proposal with 54 votes to 26.

The Thursday sitting of the Riigikogu started at 10 a.m.

The coalition is tying bills to votes of confidence to overcome the opposition's filibustering efforts in the parliament, while the latter have recently turned to the president to ask Karis not to promulgate laws opposition parties feel have not been passed in accordance with good parliamentary practice.

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Editor: Mait Ots, Marcus Turovski

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