Estonian President Alar Karis, who has been meeting with leaders of political parties for several days this week and in previous weeks, said on Wednesday that prior to signing into law the bills adopted by tying them to a confidence vote in the government, he wants to thoroughly examine the extent to which they were connected with the state budget.
Estonian president on bills tied to censure: Their link to state budget has to be examined
Karis pointed out that the Riigikogu, through which citizens of Estonia exercise their power and which holds legislative power in Estonia, is deadlocked.
"Deadlocked in a time of crises. Today, the legislature should be dealing with economic development and social security, internal and external security, education and mental health, security of electricity supply, and interconnections for our border state, to name but a few topics. A parliamentary debate on next year's state budget would certainly belong to this list. Therefore, in recent days, I've been meeting with representatives of all the political parties represented in the Riigikogu," Karis said.
He stressed that now is not the time to look for culprits, it is the time to get to work.
"This is not a time for ultimatums, but a time for seeking agreements. All the political parties in the Riigikogu must be willing to reach agreement. There is no opposition or coalition in this, there is one Riigikogu and the ability of that one Riigikogu to work," Karis said, adding that endless night sittings render the people's legislative chamber meaningless.
"We all understand that there will be no extraordinary parliamentary elections now. In any case, the current Riigikogu is able to form a majority government and adopt the state budget. The representatives of the parties elected to the Riigikogu by the people, most of them, assured me that they want to leave behind the full filibuster that paralyzes the work of the Riigikogu and also the adoption of laws through tying them to a confidence vote," Karis said.
The head of state warned that if the political parties fail to reach an agreement, Estonia will be in a constant stalemate for the next three and a half years.
"And let's not be surprised that people's disillusionment with politics in general is growing. The parliament's ability to work can be restored by the parliament, so that the government can govern and the opposition has a visible opportunity to offer an appropriate counterweight. This means that no party should whistle itself out of the game with its own defiance," said Karis.
"When it comes to the laws tied to confidence in the government, first of all, I will assess their compliance with the Constitution. Secondly, I want to see how much they are, in actuality, connected in substance to the state budget. Only then can I decide whether or not it was justified to tie one or another law to the issue of confidence," Karis said, stressing that as president he will steadfastly defend the letter and spirit of the Estonian Constitution and use the power given to him fairly and impartially.
"I expect the same from all other branches of power in our country," Karis added.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the president met with Isamaa chairman Urmas Reinsalu, Estonia 200 parliamentary group chairman Toomas Uibo, Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) chairman Martin Helme, Reform Party parliamentary group chairman Erkki Keldo, Center Party chairman Mihhail Kolvart and Social Democratic Party (SDE) parliamentary group chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski. In previous weeks, Karis met with Riigikogu speaker Lauri Hussar, Reform Party chairman and prime minister Kaja Kallas, Estonia 200 chairman and foreign minister Margus Tsahkna, and SDE chairman and interior minister Lauri Laanemets. The purpose of all the meetings was to discuss the political situation in the Riigikogu.