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Members of Riigikogu say state budget will be passed on Friday

Members of the Reform Party group with Prime Minister Kaja Kallas.
Members of the Reform Party group with Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. Source: Erik Peinar/Chancellery of the Riigikogu

The Riigikogu failed to pass the state budget at its Thursday session. However, the budget is likely to be passed by a vote of confidence at Friday's extraordinary session.

The 23-hour session of the Riigikogu was held in the middle of a filibuster, which meant that next year's state budget was not passed on Thursday. However, both coalition and opposition lawmakers said the budget is going to be passed on Friday.

"In all likelihood, next year's state budget will indeed be approved by the coalition tomorrow," Tanel Kiik, the leader of the Center Party faction, said.

"In itself, I think next year's budget is a weak document. There are no solutions to the demographic crisis or the economic crisis. And it cuts family benefits, it raises VAT, and it actually makes people and businesses less confident," he said.

Erkki Keldo, the leader of the Reform Party's parliamentary group, said the opposition will run out of opportunities for delaying tactics on Friday.

"There are a few eight-minute calls left. If all these calls are made, there will be a maximum of a few hours before the final vote," Keldo said.

Martin Helme, the chair of EKRE, said that the fact that the government has repeatedly linked bills to a vote of confidence is outrageous and does not comply with the constitution or parliamentary democracy.

"Whereas during the whole period of Estonia's independence before Kaja Kallas became prime minister, we had adopted confidence-related bills on five occasions, now we have already adopted 20 confidence-related bills in a short period of time. It started, of course, before the elections. What is it about? It speaks of a total disregard for parliamentary rules," Helme said.

But Keldo said they had no choice because the budget must be passed this year.

"We wanted them to be handled properly; now, a more accurate count has shown that there were actually about 3,300 amendments to all these laws in total, while the opposition said from the beginning that they were not substantive, and if we had started voting on them at 10-minute intervals – we would have been voting on them for over half a year," Keldo said.

The extraordinary session on Friday, which will include the adoption of the state budget, starts at 11 a.m. Martin Helme said that the obstruction will continue in the same spirit after the adoption of the state budget.

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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Kristina Kersa

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