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Chancellor of Justice Allar Jõks replied to the interpellation (No. 267) concerning the authorities of a Minister in the legislative proceeding of a Bill, submitted on 25 January by Member of the Riigikogu Liina Tõnisson. The interpellator referred to the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Edgar Savisaar who had made a political statement before the Riigikogu on 23 January wherein he stated that he would withdraw the Advertising Bill from legislative proceeding. According to the statement of the interpellator, there was no Government’s decision for the withdrawal of the Advertising Bill by the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications.

Chancellor of Justice did not agree with the Government’s opinion that in accordance with the decision recorded in the minutes of the sitting of 4 August 2005 to entrust the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Edgar Savisaar with the task to speak of the deliberation of the Advertising Bill in the Riigikogu, also involves the Minister’s right to withdraw the Bill. “Such an expanded interpretation of the deliberation of a Bill is incompatible with the Constitution,” Mr. Jõks stated. If authorization to a Minister is given a posteriori as in this case, it may be generally considered as an a posteriori approval by the represented party. “Taking into account good governance, political culture and the principle in public law, pursuant to which only that which is explicitly permitted, is permitted, such behaviour should be condemned and avoided in the future,” Chancellor of Justice said. Mr. Jõks stated that it should not be forgotten that the Government and a Minister are by far not synonymous. Ministers come and go, but the Government remains. “The difference between the competences of a Minister and the Government should be stressed especially in a case where some Ministers may develop the idea of being the supreme power, the law onto themselves,” Chancellor of Justice stated. To summarise Mr. Jõks said: that since the initiator of the Advertising Bill was the Government as a collegial body, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications carried out the Government’s previous and thoroughly deliberated authorization for the withdrawal of the Bill from legislative proceeding of the Riigikogu.

During the open microphone Liina Tõnisson took the floor.

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