TALLINN - Members of Estonia's Parliament consider it fully justified for them to sit on supervisory councils of state-owned companies, a survey of legislators conducted by the daily Postimees showed.
The survey followed a report in which the legal chancellor, Allar Joks, said that the Constitution did not permit MPs to sit on state-owned companies' supervisory boards and therefore had to leave them. He said MPs sitting on state-owned companies' boards was in violation of the principle of separation of powers.
"Economic policy of the state is being implemented via state-owned companies, which, however, is a duty of the executive power," the legal chancellor told the paper. "If members of Parliament simultaneously sit on supervisory boards as representatives of executive power it is impossible to exercise parliamentary control, because in certain conditions they should control their own activity."
Mart Rask, a member of the councils of Eesti Energia and Riigi Kinnisvarad (State Real Estate), said that the whole discussion of MPs' right to sit on councils of state-owned companies would be reduced to a dispute pay. "If you think I only have to attend Eesti Energia council meetings once a month and there's nothing for me to do, you're deeply mistaken," he said.
Janno Reiljan, an MP and member of Eesti Energia's council, said, "It seems to me that the legal chancellor is pursuing something other than protection of constitutionality."
Indrek Raudne, a member of Tallinna Sadam's (Port of Tallinn's) council, said that the legal chancellor's talk about a separation of powers and conflict of interests was absurd.
"The problem requires serious analysis," Prime Minister Juhan Parts said.