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President sends Land Tax amendments to Supreme Court

President Alar Karis.
President Alar Karis. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

President Alar Karis sent amendments to the Land Tax Act and Taxation Act passed by the Riigikogu last month to the Supreme Court and requested it be declared unconstitutional.

The president said he used his veto because the government tied the adoption of the law to a vote of confidence.

"The Supreme Court has pointed out that if unlimited obstruction is allowed, even a small group of members of the parliament could render the Riigkogu incapable of functioning," Karis said. "On the other hand, if one takes the position that continued obstruction gives the government the right to continue to tie bills to a confidence vote, then a situation arises where even a small group of members of the Riigikogu could make the exceptional procedure generally permissible under the Constitution."

For example, members of an opposition party may choose unlimited obstruction as a tactic, Karis said.

"It is doubtful whether it would be appropriate to speak of a deadlock in relations between parliament and government in this case. Nor can it be said that linking the bills to a confidence vote would in this case lead to a resolution of the impasse. Rather, the consequence would be that the remaining MPs would also no longer be able to perform their constitutional duties," Karis stressed.

"The actions of some Riigikogu members cannot give the government the right to continue to restrict the ability of all other members of the Riigikogu to exercise their mandate," he said.

The Riigikogu adopted the amendments to the act on November 22. The president then sent the legislation back to the parliament for further discussion saying it needed to be brought into line with the Constitution. However, MPs adopted the law unchanged on December 18.

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Editor: Barbara Oja, Helen Wright

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