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At the opening sitting of the Riigikogu autumn session, the President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma and President Toomas Hendrik Ilves made a speech. 

Ergma spoke about the role of the Riigikogu and the expectations that fall on the parliament. 

“The Riigikogu continues to be a forum with the strongest and the most legitimate mandate for solving political arguments in the society,” Ergma said. She added that it is inevitable that there are different interests in the society, but the quality of democracy is guaranteed only if everybody has equal possibilities to stand for his or her rights and to present the strongest argument. Ergma underlined that the Riigikogu should continue to actively contribute to solving the problems requiring long-term solutions. As examples, she pointed out well-considered resolution of demographic problems, as well as the importance of the Rail Baltic project. 

“The parliament represents the people, but its task is also to reflect governing and decision-making. To explain the background of decisions, to support and criticise decisions. We as deputies are continuously giving such feedback in our constituencies and also in public. The election campaign, which at the moment is going on in local elections, is one form of such feedback,” Ergma said. 

In his speech, Ilves wished wise and competitive governance for Estonia. 

“In an honest agreement one should be able to back out of giving impossible promises and creating hostility. Our ideal could be that political parties and election coalitions propose only achievable goals during their election campaigns, and voters ignore the candidates who deceive and are aggressive or propose empty slogans,” Ilves said. He underlined that the people wish to think along and to openly express carefully weighted opinions. This is what the People’s Assembly showed. This is what we saw during the “Festival of the Opinion Culture”. 

“On the other hand, I will continue to argue with those who believe that decisions are to be made in a closed circle of chosen ones behind closed doors – parliamentarism does not mean that, either. On the contrary: people need to be properly informed in order to form their own opinions, and people should be listened to when decisions are made,” Ilves said. He added that only a few months remain to discuss the proposals made by the People’s Assembly and to make the necessary legislative changes. Ilves expressed his recognition of the readiness of the Constitutional Committee of the Riigikogu to draft legislative amendments on the basis of those proposals. 

After the festive opening of the autumn session, replies to interpellations submitted by members of the Riigikogu followed. Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Eesti Pank Mart Laar replied to the interpellation concerning the activities of Eesti Pank in connection with the VEB Fund; the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts replied to the interpellation concerning supervisory boards of state enterprises; the Minister of Social Affairs Taavi Rõivas replied to interpellations concerning unemployment of young people, the waiting lists for medical care and the financing of Haabersti Nursing Clinic of the West-Tallinn Central Hospital. 

Photos of today’s opening sitting: http://fotoalbum.riigikogu.ee/v/2013/Riigikogu/VI_istungjark/

The Riigikogu Press Service