Riigikogu committee backs repealing outdoor political advertising ban

Outdoor political ads ahead of the 2017 local government elections.
Outdoor political ads ahead of the 2017 local government elections. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Constitutional Committee of the Riigikogu on Monday forwarded to its first reading in the Riigikogu a bill seeking to lift restrictions on active election campaigning on Election Day as well as the ban on outdoor political advertising, both of which would still remain prohibited in polling places on Election Day.

Constitutional Committee chairman Paul Puustusmaa (EKRE) said that an increasing number of people vote early, and campaigning is allowed during the early voting period.

"Voters should be granted equal conditions," Puustusmaa was quoted by spokespeople as saying. "Election advertising has also largely moved from the streets to the internet, and imposing limitations on that is difficult." He also noted that the meaningfulness of these restrictions has also been called into question by the chancellor of justice.

Committee member Hanno Pevkur (Reform) raised the issue of the definition of a polling place.

"Considering that voting has also moved to shopping malls, the definition of a polling place has become blurry in legal terms," Pevkur said. "To avoid confusion, a clear answer must be provided as to whether or not campaigning is prohibited in the entire building or whether no restrictions will be imposed on it at all. Knowingly creating a gray area cannot be supported."

The committee's meeting was also attended by Minister of Justice Raivo Aeg (Isamaa) and an adviser from the Public Law Division of the Ministry of Justice's Legislative Policy Department.

The committee decided to send the bill seeking to amend the European Parliament Election Act, the Local Government Council Election Act, the Riigikogu Election Act, the Referendum Act and the Penal Code to its first reading at the plenary session of the Riigikogu on Sept. 25.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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