Extra session may be left high and dry

  • 2007-08-03
  • From wire reports

WILL SHE OR WON'T SHE? Keit Pentus and the Reform Party faction may not turn up to the debate (Picture courtesy Riigikogu)

TALLINN - Estonia's ruling coalition has chosen not to support the energy proposals due to be put forward at the forthcoming extraordinary parliamentary session, but has yet to decide whether or not it will actually turn up to the debate.

Keit Pentus, chairwoman of the Reform Party faction, told BNS that the Green faction, who forced the session, had presented bills in which no substantial proposals were made.

Pentus said that the idea of one of the bills was to form an ad hoc committee to monitor the work of the parliament's economic affairs committee that has been dealing with energy issues until the present. The second bill is designed to restrict the remit of the government concerning the nuclear power plant to be built in Lithuania.

She said a preparatory period was now underway in the nuclear power plant issue where the Estonian Energy power utility had been holding talks with its partner companies in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, and they would do the preparatory work in terms of analyses and calculations. Furthermore, she said that subsequent decisions would be made by the government, in consultation with the parliament's economic affairs committee.

Pentus said that the coalition had unanimously agreed not to support the bills. "In what form this will be expressed, whether the coalition factions will come to parliament and state their position there or do not, will be up to the factions to discuss and decide in the coming week," she said, leaving the possibility open that members could simply fail to show up for the debate.

Marek Strandberg, spokesman of the Greens who forced the session, told BNS that the Greens, the People's Union and the Center Party, who control 41 of the 101 parliamentary seats between them, would certainly turn up for the session. But the parliament is considered quorate to pass decisions only if more than half the members turn up, meaning that at least ten members from the ruling coalition would need to attend to give the session legislative power.

Speaker Ene Ergma has called the extraordinary session for August 13, commencing at 11 a.m. If the first reading of the bills is succesful, the second session will take place at 4 p.m. on the same day.