Free Party MP took Riigikogu floor most in 2018, 2 Centre MPs not at all

Krista Aru (Free) took the floor more than any other MP at the Riiigikogu in 2019, close to 300 times.
Krista Aru (Free) took the floor more than any other MP at the Riiigikogu in 2019, close to 300 times. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Figures released on Riigikogu attendances through 2018 show 122 sittings were held over the two sessions, January-June and September-December.

Free Party member Krista Aru took the floor to speak more than anyone else in 2018, close to 300 times, with independent member Peeter Ernits just behind.

Conversely, two members, Vladimir Velman and Mihhail Korb (both Centre) did not speak once.

Riigikogu MPs take the floor to ask questions, including those posed to the government, whose ministers do not sit in parliament. They can also use the opportunity to give speeches. Ms Aru took the floor a total of 293 times in 2018, asking questions 246 of those times and in the remaining 47 making speech. Peeter Ernits took the floor 254 times to ask a question and gave 38 speeches, making a total of 292 times he took the floor.

Krista Aru, whose party numbers 6 MPs at present, said that it was never her intention to be the most active speaker in parliament and that she focussed solely on doing a good job.

"That's what the job of a member of the Riigikogu is, this is what I get paid for. I work with bills, and if something remains unclear, I'll ask about it," she said. 

Peter Ernits, formerly of Centre and who was at one time reportedly due to join the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) stressed the importance of being present and on the ground at parliament.

"I have tried to read through most of the bills and questions inevitably ensue,'' he said, according to BNS.

''As a matter of fact, all members of the Riigikogu should do that, as many of [the bills] are substandard. Bills often need to be restructured and the cause of that is often that members of the parliament follow their group's orders instead of actually reading the bill," he continued.

If it ain't broke...

The two members who did not speak seemed fairly confident that there was nothing really to be gained from them so doing.

"There is no point in me giving speeches and asking questions when the government has already decided everything,'' said Vladimir Velman, according to BNS.

''It's no secret that there is no merit to giving speeches in the hall and subsequently asking questions if everything has already been decided by governmental leaders,'' Mr Velman continued, conceding that as a veteran who has sat in parliament for over 20 years, he was more animated when he was a younger politician.

Mihhail Korb, otherwise a prominent Centre member and secretary general of the party, argued that speaking up was not really his style.

"Questions are posed at sittings when something needs to be clarified. So far, I have received information elsewhere," he said, according to BNS, pointing out he participates actively in other ways such as working on parliamentary committees, being involved in the legislative process, engaging with the electorate and carrying out party work.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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