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Riigikogu

The Riigikogu passed seven Acts:

The Riigikogu passed with 58 votes in favour (36 votes against) the Local Government Council Election Act Amendment Act, which the President of the Republic refused to proclaim, and which regulates electronic voting. The amendment, pursuant to which a voter may change his/her electronically given vote only in the course of pre-elections, was introduced in the Act.

The Riigikogu passed with 73 votes in favour (6 votes against) the Code of Criminal Procedure and Code of Enforcement Procedure Implementation Act (273 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act stipulates principles for the implementation of the Code and includes the amendments, which will be made in the valid Acts, in connection with the enforcement of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Code of Enforcement Procedure. The Act makes also amendments to the former regulation concerning the resolution of labour disputes.

The Riigikogu passed with 76 votes in favour the Witness Protection Act (486 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. Pursuant to the current legislation, the only possibility for ensuring partial protection of witnesses in the Republic of Estonia was the institution of anonymous witness provided for in § 67 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Unfortunately this institution was insufficient for the effective protection of witnesses to combat crime in the amount internationally accepted and therefore Estonia?s integration to international combat against organised crime, the fulfillment of international obligations and participation in mutual cooperation in this sphere was problematic. Proceeding from the afore-mentioned, the regulation and structures of witness protection were established in the Republic of Estonia.

The Act on Amendments to § 61 of the State Pension Insurance Act (651 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, Estonian Reform Party Faction and Estonian People’s Union Faction, was passed with 58 votes in favour (9 abstentions). After the indexation of pensions on 1 April 2005, the average old-age pension in Estonia is EEK 2,446. The Act provides for the supplementary increase in the base amount and the value of a year of pensionable service in 2005 and 2006 and the increase in the rate of the national pension in 2005. After the named pension increase, the average old-age pension beginning from 1 July 2005 is EEK 2,726 and from 1 April 2006 ? EEK 3,008. The total increase in the average old-age pension is EEK 434 in 2005, and in the first half-year of 2006 ? EEK 282. Pursuant to the Act, the national pension increases in two years by a total of EEK 232 in all.

The Riigikogu passed with 74 votes in favour the Parental Benefits Act Amendment Act (650 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party Faction, Estonian Centre Party Faction and Estonian People?s Union Faction. According to the currently valid redaction, the parental benefit was granted when 365 days had passed from the grant of maternity benefit. The Act extends the parental benefits period up to the date when 455 days have passed from the grant of maternity benefits. Pursuant to the Act, the payment of parental benefit to the persons who have no right to receive maternity benefit will be extended up to the date when the child attains 14 months of age. According to the valid redaction, those persons got their parental benefits until the day when the child attained 11 months of age. The Act includes an implementation provision, which regulates the transfer to the extension of the grant of benefits by 3 calendar months. The parental benefits will be granted until 455 days after the grant of maternity benefit, or to the day when the child attains 14 months of age to the persons who, as of 1 January 2006 have the right to receive parental benefits.

The Riigikogu passed with 63 votes in favour (2 votes against) the Old-Age Pensions under Favourable Conditions Act and Superannuated Pensions Act Amendment Act (626 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, the purpose of which is to bring the Old-Age Pensions under Favourable Conditions Act and the Superannuated Pensions Act gradually into conformity with the EU Directive 79/7/EEC, the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia and with the Gender Equality Act in respect of equal treatment of men and women. Several inaccuracies, which became evident during the implementation of Acts are also amended. The main amendment in the Act is the increase in the required years of pensionable service of women for receiving old-age pensions under favourable conditions and superannuated pensions to the level of men?s years of pensionable service ( in one case the increase in the age limit of men also). Pursuant to the Act, requirements, necessary for receiving old-age pensions under favourable conditions of men and women or for receiving superannuated pensions, are unified, whereas the retirement age of these persons will, however, remain lower than the general retirement age.

The Riigikogu passed with 65 votes in favour the Rural Development and Agricultural Market Regulation Act the European Union Common Agricultural Policy and Associated Acts Implementation Act (638 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, which enables to enforce legal acts concerning the grant of agricultural de minimis aid, which do not require asking permission from the European Commission for granting aid, but the data of which will be registered, preserved and forwarded to the European Commission according to the procedure, established by the relevant regulation. The amendments, made by the Act, ensure more efficient supervision over the use of benefits of the rural development, which, in return, ensure more purposeful use of benefits.

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of four Bills:

The Bill on Amendments to the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure, Penal Code and Traffic Act (584 SE), initiated by the Legal Affairs Committee;

The Bill on Amendments to the Immovables Expropriation Act, Code of Enforcement Procedure, Roads Act and Railways Act (647 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Isamaaliit Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. The result of voting: 22 votes in favour, 46 against. The motion was not supported. The second reading was concluded.

The Bill on Amendments to the Railways Act and State Fees Act (648 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Bill on Amendments to the Infectious Animal Disease Control Act (665 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

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The Riigikogu suspended the second reading of the Bill on the Ratification of the State Border Treaty between the Republic of Estonia and the Russian Federation and the Treaty on the Delimitation of Maritime Areas of Narva Bay and the Gulf of Finland between the Republic of Estonia and the Russian Federation (660 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

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The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act and Vocational Educational Institutions Act (669 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

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At Question Time Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet answered the question about the consequences of the Border Treaty. Minister of Finance Aivar Sõerd answered the questions about the excise duties, financing of health care and the next year?s plans concerning the financing of cultural fields. Minister of Regional Affairs Jaan Õunapuu answered the question about the instruction in Estonian.

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The Isamaaliit Faction as the initiator withdrew from the legislative proceeding the Bill on Amendments to the Election Act and the Referendum Act to Impose Resrictions on Political Advertising and Election Campaign (234 SE) and the Bill on Amendments to the Advertising Act and Broadcasting Act (235 SE).

The sitting ended at 7.29 p.m.

The questions asked at the Question Time and the answers to them as well as the verbatim record of the Riigikogu sitting are available (in Estonian) on the Internet at:

http://web.riigikogu.ee/ems/plsql/stenograms.form

The Riigikogu Press Service

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