TALLINN - Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves doesn’t use his right to take a vacation for the second term of office in a row, as his office says that the president’s term of office and a vacation are not compatible, reports Ohtuleht.
Ohtuleht writes that people are worried why the head of state is obstinately rejecting the right to take 35 days of vacation a year. Recently, even U.S. President Barack Obama announced that he was taking a vacation, they say.
“Neither President Lennart Meri, President Arnold Ruutel nor President Toomas Hendrik Ilves have used vacation time as head of state,” says the president’s chancellery PR department head Piret Pert. “All heads of state have since 1992 followed the principle that the president’s term of office and vacation are not compatible. The head of state is the head of state 365 or 366 days a year.”
Pert added that there are several practical problems connected to the president’s vacation too, like suspending powers of the Riigikogu speaker and the need to call in a substitute MP.
Eesti Ekspress recently described the complicated procedure that would be launched if Ilves decided to take a vacation. Riigikogu speaker Ene Ergma would have to stand in as his substitute for the time of the vacation; that means that Ergma would have to resign her job as the speaker and resign from her party. One of the deputy speakers would have to take over her job. And a replacement MP would have to join the parliament. That all for a maximum of 35 days with all the formalities in financial and other respects.
The president gets compensation for not using his vacation at the end of his term of office. This reaches a bit over 6,000 euros a year.