President asks parlt to take People's Assembly proposals seriously

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

PHOTO: Peeter Langovits.

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves who on Tuesday presented to parliament the proposals of the Rahvakogu (People's Assembly) crowdsourcing initiative asked the legislators to take them seriously.

In the president's words, the objective of the lawmaking initiative was to collect proposals for stimulating competition in politics, giving more weight to the votes cast by voters, citizens' participation in politics in between elections, preventing partyization and making party financing more transparent.

"Now this road has been covered. Ideas have been collected from all interested parties and systematized. They have been repeatedly discussed and equipped with an impact analysis," the president said. "And I am standing here to hand the result of the crowdsourcing process over to parliament because, as has been repeatedly emphasized, only the Riigikogu can decide whether these proposals will become law."

In the president's judgment, the proposals of the assembly deserve thorough and open debate in the parliamentary Constitutional Committee, party groups and full house alike.

One of the reasons why Rahvakogu was born was that in many active citizens' view the parliament and the parties represented in it have been too slow to perceive the substance and extent of the changes that have occurred in society, that the party system is too encapsulated and that the laws regulating it give preference to large established parties, Ilves said. So perhaps the time has come to revisit those topics, consider again the pros and cons and make decisions that correspond to present-day needs and society's expectations.

The president said Estonia's value system is undergoing a significant change. "Quite a few things that brought votes at elections as recently as five or ten years ago are met with a smirk today, especially among those we regard as the pledge for our future - the broad-viewed, well-educated young," he said.

The way Ilves sees it, the Estonian society demands open discussion and wants to be a participant in this process.

Handing the People's Assembly proposals over to parliament, Ilves said his sincere request is for legislators to take them seriously.

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