Riigikogu Speaker Lauri Hussar (Eesti 200) hopes that after the adoption of the state budget, the behavior of the opposition will change and obstructionist tactics no longer be so broadly used. According to Hussar, conversations with members of EKRE, which is leading the filibuster, have given him cause for optimism in this regard.
"I also know that the members of EKRE have said that once the budget is passed, they will lose a lot of their motivation to filibuster, and I hope that after that, solutions can be found," Hussar told ERR on Wednesday.
At the moment, he said, the opposition is obstructing all the bills by tabling 100 – 200 amendments to them, which then take hours or even days to pass. There are still a great deal more amendments to the state budget. If the Riigikogu fails to pass the budget, it would be forced to dissolve and extraordinary elections held, which is the goal of EKRE leader Martin Helme, Hussar said.
At the same time, Hussar expressed hope that after the state budget is approved, the leaders of the various political parties will be able to begin discussing how to organize the future work of the Riigikogu whether it would be reasonable or possible to amend the procedural rules.
According to Hussar, one possibility would be to agree on the number of amendments that could be made to a draft. In that case, should more amendments be put forward, there would be clear grounds for linking bills to a vote of confidence in the government.
Hussar also stated that if the opposition creates situations in the Riigikogu that are not covered by the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act, then the task of resolving them remains the responsibility of the Riigikogu leadership. At the same time, this provides the opposition grounds to launch an appeal with the Supreme Court.
"We don't have a problem with the current rules of procedure of the Riigikogu, but the disadvantage is that we are going to spend a lot of money on the courts. The other option would be to reach a general political agreement so that there is no filibustering," Hussar said.
Hussar also pointed out that so far, the Riigikogu leadership has twice been vindicated by the Supreme Court following disputes with the opposition.
Hussar added, that despite the challenges, has been able to handle the requirements of the Riigikogu Speaker role. "If you look at the fact that the opposition has not achieved what it wanted - to obstruct the work of the Riigikogu - then we, as the Riigikogu's leadership, and I, myself, as Riigikogu Speaker, have been able to organize our work so that the Riigikogu functions. And the Riigikogu is functioning today - we are able to pass decisions and laws, although we are not able to do so with the speed and efficiency of previous legislatures," he said.
Hussar said that the Riigikogu leadership is trying to make sure both that opposition is heard and that the coalition can implement its policies. He believes EKRE will soon find itself filibustering alone.
"The Center Party has completely withdrawn from the obstruction, Isamaa is no longer taking part in it to any great extent, so, only EKRE will continue."
"Today, the Left is no longer part of the coalition, only the Greens are continuing.
"Now, I already see a very clear approach from the Center Party, which wants to have a substantive debate in the Riigikogu, and Isamaa is also moving in that same direction," he added.
According to Hussar, only EKRE has stuck with its uncompromising position towards the coalition.
Editor: Michael Cole