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The alternate member of the Riigikogu Tatjana Muravjova took the oath of office.

At extraordinary elections of Vice-Presidents of the Riigikogu Andres Lipstok was elected First Vice-President (45 votes in favour) and Peeter Kreitzberg was elected Vice-President of the Riigikogu (27 votes in favour). There were 20 invalid ballots. A total of 92 members of the Riigikogu took part in the election.

The proposal of the Chancellor of Justice No. 1 of 21 February to bring criminal charges against Member of the Riigikogu Margus Hanson pursuant to § 242 of the Penal Code and to prepare a statement of charges against him was passed with 67 votes in favour (1 vote against). The charge is related to careless handling of secret documents. The above documents were stolen from Margus Hanson?s home in Tartu.

Prime Minister Juhan Parts replied to the interpellation (No. 130) concerning the responsibilities of the state with respect to local governments, submitted on 26 January by 12 members of the Estonian Centre Party Faction. The interpellators stated that with various legal acts the state had assigned several tasks to local governments, but no sufficient final resources had been given for the performance of them. The interpellators wished to have replies to the problems related to three fields. They are: public transport, road construction and the problems related to the so-called compulsory lessees, i.e. persons who became as a result of the ownership reform.

Prime Minister explained that the benefits in public transport would be covered out of subsidies which had been allocated to those public regular services from the city or rural municipality budgets or from the state budget, pursuant to § 15 of the Public Transport Act. This provision lays down the principle that, if the revenue base of a local government budget is insufficient, the state will cover, at the request of the local government, the deficit of the subsidies to public regular services wholly or partly from the state budget.

The basis of the distribution of financing for local roads in 2005 was the length of roads and streets, whereas in financing of local roads the coefficient was 1 and for the financing of streets it was 3.5. ?As a result of the above, generally 71 per cent of the money was allocated for rural municipalities and 29 per cent for towns,? the Prime Minister mentioned. In 2005 the Riigikogu has also passed the Roads Act, on the basis of which at least 5 per cent of the means provided for road management from the state budget are allocated for the investment of local roads. It is a beginning for local roads to relate the proceeds from fuel excise duties at the legislative level.

Dealing with solutions to the problems related to the so-called ?compulsory lessees?, the Prime Minister said that the state supported local governments in solving the problems of residential buildings through the Estonian Credit and Export Guarantee Fund KredEx. The named principle has been established in the housing development plan, passed by the Government in the beginning of 2003.In the State Budget of 2005 Act EEK 20 million has been allocated for this Fund, from which EEK 14 million has been provided for the reconstruction of apartment buildings and EEK 6 million for the increase of municipal housing fund. The use of these resources is regulated by the procedure established by the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications and Tallinn has also possibilities to submit applications for the purchase of new living space for compulsory lessees; using these means. ?The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications has also discussed the possibilities for finding supplementary resources, but now there is a debate between the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of Finance on how to go on with the problem, ?the Prime Minister explained.

Prime Minister Juhan Parts also replied to the interpellation (No. 129) concerning the origin of sugar fines of the European Union, submitted on 25 January by Member of the Riigikogu Heimar Lenk and to the interpellation (No. 136) concerning the possible violation of § 41 (2) of the Local Government Organisation Act by Narva City Council, submitted on 9 February by six members of the Isamaaliit Faction.

Minister of Regional Affairs Jaan Õunapuu replied to the interpellation (No. 128) concerning the plan of action of the Government of the Republic for solution of employment problems in Ida-Virumaa, submitted on 13 January by three members of the Estonian Centre Party Faction.

Minister of Social Affairs Marko Pomerants replied to the interpellation (No. 132) concerning the problems related family physicians, submitted on 27 January by four members of the Isamaaliit Faction, and to the interpellation (No. 134) concerning the implementation of the income tax reform, submitted on 27 January by Members of the Riigikogu Kadi Pärnits and Eiki Nestor, and to the interpellation (no. 135) concerning the situation in the Estonian health care, submitted on 7 February by three members of the Estonian Centre Party Faction.

The sitting ended at 18.54.

The Riigikogu Press Service