Parlt committee to continue reviewing amendments to draft marriage referendum

  • 2021-01-06
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The constitutional committee of the Estonian parliament will continue to review the amendment proposals submitted to the draft resolution on holding a referendum on the definition of marriage at an extraordinary sitting on Thursday and invites all the authors of the amendments to provide explanations to the committee.

According to committee chairman Anti Poolamets, the committee decided on Wednesday to give each MP who submitted an amendment proposal five minutes for explanations, while an MP who submitted over 100 proposals will be given seven minutes and the parliamentary group of the Social Democratic Party (SDE), which submitted 5,800 amendment proposals, will be given 15 minutes for explanations, Riigikogu spokespeople said.

"We are giving each MP the opportunity to explain their proposals and also the opportunity to withdraw their proposals," Poolamets said. "The opposition took a firm stance at today's sitting and did not abandon the amendment proposals submitted for the purpose of obstruction. There are only a few grains of wheat among the huge amount of chaff that can be discussed with a serious face."

According to Poolamets, the 50,000 amendment proposals made to the ERJK bill [seeking to disband the Supervisory Committee on Party Financing] with a computer program this summer and the current large-scale obstruction of the work of the Riigikogu confirm that the opposition is not planning to pull back. "Their behavior has shown that the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act also needs to be seriously reviewed," he added.

According to deputy chairman of the committee and SDE MP Lauri Laanemets, the committee's decision on Wednesday constitutes unequal treatment of MPs and is contrary to the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act. "This deprives MPs of the opportunity to express their opinion on the submitted proposals and the members of the committee the opportunity to ask questions from MP who submitted the proposal. This is more so the beginning of a silent era, beginning with running over parliament and the people who have elected their representatives there," Laanemets said.

The committee also postponed the second reading of the draft in plenary from Jan. 11 to Jan. 13. Opposition MPs opposed the proposal as the amendment proposals have not been reviewed.

Altogether 9,317 amendment proposals were submitted by deadline to the draft Riigikogu resolution on the definition of marriage submitted by the parliamentary groups of the Center Party, the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) and Isamaa.

The draft resolution passed first reading in the parliament on Dec. 14. The draft resolution proposes to submit to the referendum held on April 18, 2021, the following other national issue "Shall marriage remain a union between a man and a woman in Estonia?"