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Two Bills on amendment of the Political Parties Act, initiated by the Social Democratic Party Faction, concerning the restriction of the advertising expenses of and the financing of political parties, passed the first reading in the Riigikogu.

The aim of the Bill on Amendments to § 12¹ of the Political Parties Act (598 SE) is to prohibit political parties from incurring advertising costs (television, radio, Internet, outdoor and press advertising, and advertising publications) in excess of 500 000 euro per calendar year. Costs exceeding the limit will be deemed to be prohibited donations.

The representative of the initiator of the Bill Marianne Mikko said that the Bill would give an impetus so that political debate, and not the domination of advertising posters, would be the priority in the activities of political parties. Imposing a limit on election campaign expenses would also help reduce excessive spending of taxpayers’ money on advertising and would create equal opportunities for candidates.

Tarmo Tamm took the floor during the debate.

According to the Bill on Amendments to § 127 of the Political Parties Act (599 SE), the system of the financing of political parties will be changed. A half of the allocation will be divided among all political parties who received at least 2% of the votes of voters, proportionally according to the votes gained in the elections. The other half of the allocation would be divided equally among all political parties represented in the parliament. A 10 000-euro support would be maintained for political parties who gained the support of at least 1% of voters.

In the opinion of the representative of the initiator of the Bill Neeme Suur, the Bill will extend the possibility of discussion and debate with small political parties, and reduce the domination of big political parties in Estonian politics. At the same time it will encourage new comers to participate in election campaigns, and harmonise the capacities and resources of bigger and smaller political parties. It will also allow to change the situation where the political parties who lose elections practically disappear from active politics for the election cycle.

The Bill on Amendments to the Water Act (611 SE), initiated by the Government, passed the the second reading in the Riigikogu. It increases the flexibility of the regulation concerning the encumbering of public bodies of water with structures not permanently attached to the shore. For encumbering public bodies of water with structures not permanently attached to the shore, a relevant superficies licence must have been issued according to the Water Act. However, according to the Act, an application for a superficies licence cannot be accepted for processing if another application for a superficies licence or a county plan has been initiated with regard to the water area of the same public water body and the proceedings for the preparation thereof have not ended. The Bill increases the flexibility of the prohibition on the initiation of the proceedings for a superficies licence and establishes provisions according to which proceedings for a superficies licence can, in certain cases, be initiated also when proceedings for another superficies licence or a county plan have already been initiated with regard to the same area. Also, in case of simpler structures, a superficies licence will be issued by another institution, in order to allow for quicker and more flexible proceedings for the licences for such structures. According to the Bill, recreational and sports facilities with the area under structure not exceeding 60 m² servicing a beach are such structures.

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of five other drafts:

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Amendment of the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Formation of the State Budget Control Select Committee”” (638 OE), submitted by the Social Democratic Party Faction. The draft Resolution provides for the appointment of Tatjana Jaanson as a member of the Select Committee instead of Neeme Suur, and appointment of Marianne Mikko as an alternate member, and Maimu Berg as an alternate member instead of the current alternate member Urve Palo.

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Amendment of the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Formation of the Security Authorities Surveillance Select Committee”” (639 OE), submitted by the Social Democratic Party Faction. The draft Resolution provides for the appointment of Tiit Tammsaar as a member of the Select Committee instead of Heljo Pikhof, and Karel Rüütli as an alternate member. It also provides for the appointment of Heljo Pikhof as an alternate member instead of Eiki Nestor.

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Amendment of the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Formation of the Security Authorities Surveillance Select Committee”” (640 OE), submitted by the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction. The draft Resolution provides for the appointment of Siim Valmar Kiisler as a member of the Select Committee instead of Ülo Tulik, and Ken-Marti Vaher as an alternate member instead of Kaja Kreisman.

The Bill on Amendments to the Government of the Republic Act and the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act (604 SE), initiated by the Social Democratic Party Faction. The aim of the Bill is to change the current procedure for putting forward a candidate for Member of the European Commission (hereinafter candidate for Commissioner). At present, the Government nominates a candidate for Commissioner, and the Government does not have to coordinate the candidate with any constitutional institution before making the decision. If the Act is passed, the Government would be able to put forward only a candidate approved by the Riigikogu.

Priit Toobal took the floor during the debate.

The Bill on Amendments to the Status of Member of Riigikogu Act and the State Assets Act (603 SE), initiated by the Social Democratic Party Faction. With the Bill, on the one hand, the appointment of members of the supervisory boards of legal persons specified in the State Assets Act is extended to a relevant Riigikogu committee which will have to grant its consent to the appointment of a person as a member of the supervisory board. It is also intended to preclude the appointment of members of the Riigikogu to the abovementioned supervisory boards when making a selection.

Priit Toobal took the floor during the debate.

The verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)

The Riigikogu Press Service

 

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