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Estonian Santa Claus pays visit to Riigikogu for final sitting of 2023

Priit Lomp (SDE) performs a Christmas song in the Riigikogu as Jõukuvana looks on.
Priit Lomp (SDE) performs a Christmas song in the Riigikogu as Jõukuvana looks on. Source: ERR

On Thursday, the year's final regular sitting of the Riigikogu took place. The only items on the agenda were the visit of Jõuluvana (Estonian Santa Claus) and the performances of traditional poems and songs by MPs.

Over the years, there have been a range of musical and spoken-word performances given by Riigikogu members touching on the political issues of the day. This year was no exception.

This year, Jõuluvana began by saying that even though his existence has been questioned at the highest level by the prime minister, he is once again standing in front of the Riigikogu. To be precise, Jõuluvana was speaking to the 58 MPs who were present for the final session of the year.

Jõuluvana then called on the Riigikogu leadership, with Speaker Lauri Hussar (SDE) and vice-speaker Jüri Ratas (Center) both reading out traditional poems.

After his performance, Hussar wondered aloud whether the elves behind the window were aware of what might happen if certain MPs followed through on their promise to throw the Riigikogu Speaker out. However, Jõuluvana was quick to calm down the anxious Hussar. "There's no need for that, because it its rare that when a member of the Riigikogu promises to do something, they actually do it."

On behalf of the Reform Party, Luisa Värk performed a song, before being given a radio as a gift. Jõuluvana said this was because Reform's government coalition partners are always complaining that they get their information about the leading party's activities from the media. Having a radio set up in the corridor of the Riigikogu might be a quicker way for them to find out what is happening, he said.

Juku-Kalle Raid and Kalev Stoicescu (both Eesti 200) recited poems on behalf of Eesti 200. Jõuluvana also handed Raid water bottles as a present, but remarked that "Raid doesn't like to drink water very much..."

Representing Isamaa was Tõnis Lukas, who read out proverbs that characterize the principles of the different Riigikogu parties and perhaps also appeared to predict the future. In relation to EKRE for instance, Lukas read the proverb "An old wound is worth more than a new gun."

The Social Democratic Party (SDE) then sent Priit Lomp forward. Lomp, who won a Riigikogu seat for the first time this spring, played guitar and sang a song with words written by Hardi Volmer and a melody by Jaagup Kreem.

In the most recent Riigikogu elections, the Center Party not only lost 10 seats in parliament, but also its usual lead performer in these situations, Viktor Vassiljev. This year, Andre Hanimägi came to the rescue, saying he was now "the coolest of the Center Party members left in the Riigikogu." Jõuluvana was seen singing along to Hanimägi's song.

Last on the bill was Rain Epler (EKRE), who admitted that he too had prepared a song to perform. However, after hearing such high quality performances from his fellows MPs, he decided instead to read a poem, which he delivered in the Võro language.

The politicians also received gifts from Jõuluvana in-keeping with the current times of crisis.

Jõuluvana concluded by admitting that "when you only go to the Riigikogu once a year, everything seems so nice." Therefore, to avoid spoiling his good mood, he will not be visiting more often than that.

Jõuluvana also attempted to convince MPs to promise that next year "they will be a bit more normal." However, he received no outright "yes" to his request.

To wrap things up, the Riigikogu's "united choir" sang the song "Oh kuusepuu" ("Oh Christmas tree").

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Editor: Michael Cole

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