Deputy committee chair: Allowing referendums populist, not doable

Jüri Adams, considered to be the primary author of the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia.
Jüri Adams, considered to be the primary author of the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Commenting on recent proposals to initiate referendums, Deputy Chairman of the Constitutional Committee of the Riigikogu Jüri Adams (Free) said that there are three important reasons why they should be deemed populist and unrealisable.

"First, Estonia's current legislation does not foresee the organisation of a referendum unless at least over half of MPs support it," Adams was quoted by spokespeople as saying. "All of these proposals, which are known will not go through, are not that serious."

According to Adams, when it comes to referendums, the second issue is that the subject of the referendum must be absolutely uniformly understandable to all. "For example, if the question is asked whether you support participation in an international action or some kind of text, nobody will understand uniformly what this participation entails," he explained.

"And thirdly, referendums are referendums if the question can be worded in such a way that there are only two answers," the MP continued. "The moment the wording allows for three answers, or four or five answers, it cannot be a referendum. When it comes to the subject of the referendum, this is definitely to do with the disorientation of the people in this case. A very large portion of the Estonian people would never like to see a larger wave of immigrants to Estonia. An honest question would be whether you agree that Estonia accepts too many immigrants or not. Honest questions can only be the kind that are simply devised and do not use euphemisms."

The parliamentary group of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) on Thursday submitted to the Riigikogu a draft resolution seeking a referendum to be conducted regarding the UN Global Compact on Migration. It seeks to schedule the referendum to coincide with the 2019 Riigikogu elections to be held on 3 March.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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