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53 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of the proposal of the Chancellor of Justice Allar Jõks for bringing the Political Parties Act into conformity with the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia. Mr. Jõks stated in his report that the Political Parties Act did not establish sufficient supervision over the financing of parties and was consequently in conflict with the principle of democracy, established by the Constitution, as well as with the fundamental right of a political party. Chancellor of Justice focussed on the cases which had attracted the most attention. The issue of debt instrument of the Centre Party, the case of the K-dessert, the activities of the OÜ R-Hooldus, founded by the Reform Party, the donations of private persons and the donation to the related organisation of the Res Publica. Mr. Jõks also paid attention to the obligation of political parties to publish their annual reports in the Riigi Teataja Lisa, which had repeatedly been ignored by the parties. To summarise, the Chancellor of Justice stated that there was no body in the Estonian legal system, which could exercise a large-scale, substantive and independent supervision over the financing of the political parties, and that such a body must be formed. The chairman of the sitting, Vice-President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma made a proposal to the Constitutional Committee to initiate a Bill for bringing the Political Parties Act into conformity with the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia.

The Riigikogu passed the following Acts, initiated by the Government:

The Income Tax Act, Social Tax Act, Gambling Tax Act and Credit Institutions Act Amendment Act (863 SE) was passed with 59 votes in favour (5 against, 3 abstentions). Upon implementation of the Act, tax incentives, so far limited to Estonia, will extend to the residents of the EU or the European Economic Area. This concerns the right to deduct from the income funded pension contributions and study loan interests, the increased basic exemption applied on pensions and the advantageous limit in the taxation of disbursements of supplementary funded pensions. The Act also makes amendments to the regulation related to the taxation of dividends.

The Riigikogu passed with 66 votes in favour the Chemicals Act, Waste Act, State Fees Act and Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Act Amendment Act (855 SE). The amendments to the Act enable to better ensure the safe and purposeful use of chemicals and to meet the requirements of free movement of chemicals as goods pursuant to the EU legislation.

The Copyright Act Amendment Act (866 SE) was passed by the Riigikogu with 66 votes in favour. The amendments to the Act enable the public as well as different interest groups to use, on more understandable bases, the intellectual property without asking permission from authors or paying fees. For example, a work may be used in caricatures, parodies and pastishes to a motivated extent.  Public archives, museums and libraries may use the works in their collections for the introduction of exhibitions and collections. The works of architecture erected in public places may be used in the announcements concerning immovable properties. 

The Blood Act Amendment Act (894 SE) was passed by the Riigikogu with 66 votes in favour. Pursuant to the Act, the activities of the North Estonian Blood Centre will be terminated. The initiators are in the opinion that to offer the services of the Blood Centre by the state agency is inexpedient, because the Blood Centres by the hospitals offer the same service.

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Food Act and Associated Acts (878 SE) and the Forest Bill (833 SE). The motion of the Social Democratic Party Faction, the Res Publica Faction and the Isamaaliit Faction to suspend the second reading of 833 SE was not supported. 16 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 53 members of the Riigikogu against it. The second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Code of Administrative Court Procedure and Associated Acts (857 SE) was also concluded.

On the motion of the Cultural Affairs Committee the Riigikogu suspended the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act, Private Schools Act, Vocational Educational Institutions Act and Pre-school Child Care Institutions Act (828 SE).

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of the Bill on the Accession to the Agreement Relating to the Implementation of Provisions in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Concerning the Conservation and Management of Fish Stocks in Border Areas and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (893 SE).

The first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Alcohol, Tobacco and Fuel Excise Duty Act (909 SE) and the Bill on Amendments to § 5 of the Local Government Council Election Act (891 SE) were also concluded.

The verbatim record of the Riigikogu sitting (in Estonian) can be found at:

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

The Riigikogu Press Service

31 May 2006

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