Estonia: The draft Resolution on holding a referendum was not supported by the Riigikogu

NordenBladet — The draft Resolution on holding a referendum on the issue of the definition of marriage was not supported at today’s sitting of the Riigikogu. 26 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of passing the Resolution and 49 were against.

The draft Resolution provided for submitting the question (other national issue): “Shall marriage remain a union between a man and a woman in Estonia?” to the referendum to be held on 18 April 2021.

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu on holding a referendum on the issue of the definition of marriage, submitted by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction and the Faction Isamaa, passed its first reading in the Riigikogu on 14 December. Nearly 10,000 motions to amend the draft Resolution had been submitted by the deadline.

During the debate, Lauri Läänemets (Social Democratic Party), Priit Sibul (Isamaa), Henn Põlluaas (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Peeter Ernits (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Kalle Grünthal (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Eduard Odinets (Social Democratic Party), Mart Helme (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Heiki Hepner (Isamaa), Tarmo Kruusimäe (Isamaa), Hanno Pevkur (Reform Party), Valdo Randpere (Reform Party), Imre Sooäär (Centre Party), Indrek Saar (Social Democratic Party), Siim Pohlak (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Mihhail Lotman (Isamaa), Riina Sikkut (Social Democratic Party), Raimond Kaljulaid, Jevgeni Ossinovski (Social Democratic Party) and Helmen Kütt (Social Democratic Party) took the floor.

On behalf of the Centre Party Faction, Andrei Korobeinik moved to remove the Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Holding a Referendum on the Issue of the Definition of Marriage” (288 OE) from the agenda for today’s sitting. The Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction disagreed with that, and therefore the item remained on the agenda.

At today’s sitting, the Riigikogu also rejected the protests that had been lodged concerning the proceedings on the draft Resolution on the referendum.

Because the Board of the Riigikogu had not reached a consensus at its meeting the day before and Vice-President Siim Kallas had held a dissenting opinion on the Resolutions of the Board, the plenary of the Riigikogu voted on two motions of the Board at today’s sitting. They concerned the protests that had been lodged by members of the Riigikogu in connection with the proceedings on the draft Resolution on the referendum in the Constitutional Committee, and issues relating to obstruction.

The plenary of the Riigikogu passed with 49 votes in favour and 48 against the Resolution of the Board of the Riigikogu that provided for a rejection in their entirety of the protests that had been lodged concerning the proceedings on the Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Holding a Referendum on the Issue of the Definition of Marriage” (288 OE). The Resolution notes that, considering the very broad right to self-regulation of the committees, the Constitutional Committee had acted within the framework of the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act to ensure its ability to work.

The Resolution of the Board to regulate obstruction was not supported by the Riigikogu.

“The Board of the Riigikogu accepts obstruction as a means of the opposition in the parliament to demonstrate their disagreement with certain decisions of the majority of the parliament. However, blocking the work of the parliament must remain within the limits of dignity. Submitting thousands of motions to amend, a large part of which are unconstitutional, insulting and damaging to Estonia’s security and undermine Estonia’s international reputation does not serve the interests of democracy but lowers the Riigikogu’s reputation and discredits the functioning of the democracy as a whole. The Board of the Riigikogu disapproves of and condemns the submission of such motions and calls on members of parliament to refrain from submitting such motions in the future. Under the Constitution, the functioning of the parliament must be ensured in every situation and obstruction must not lead to blocking the daily legislative work of the Riigikogu.”

41 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of that Resolution of the Board of the Riigikogu and 45 were against. Thus, the motion was not supported.

The sitting ended at 8.40 p.m.

 

 



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