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The Act on Amendments to the Riigikogu Election Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (344 SE) eliminates the shortcomings that became apparent in the regulation of online voting in recent elections, and which have also been pointed out by the Supreme Court. With a view to increasing transparency, the regulation that so far had been established by Resolutions of the National Electoral Committee was provided at the level of Act.

Under an amendment, the electoral committee has the right to establish by its resolution the technical requirements for online voting as the organisation of online voting may change over time. According to an amendment, the National Electoral Committee will also establish by its resolution the electronic identification schemes to be used to identify voters. This will create the possibility for voters to also identify themselves by Smart-ID in the future. At present, a secure computer with Internet connection, and an ID-card with valid certificates together with a reader, or mobile ID are needed to vote online.

The Act also clearly provides for the option of using m-voting in elections in the future. According to an amendment, the National Electoral Committee will assess the suitability of technical solutions before each election and will define by its resolution the operating systems to be used. A voter application will be established in particular for the most common computer operating systems and an individual verification application will be established for the most common mobile device operating systems. A voter application may be established for the latter as well.

The amendments allowing for the use of Smart-ID as well as m-voting will enter into force on 1 October this year. Thus, these options cannot yet be used in the European Parliament elections at the beginning of this June.

In addition, an amendment specifies the tasks and responsibility of the State Electoral Office in the development and management of the information systems relating to elections. The role of the Information System Authority is also provided for in the Act. The electoral office also has the right to involve other competent authorities and persons in the organisation of the development, management and hosting of the election information system and online voting system and in the ensuring of cyber security of such information systems.

During the debate, Anastassia Kovalenko-Kõlvart from the Centre Party Group, Mario Kadastik from the Reform Party Group, Hendrik Johannes Terras from Estonia 200 Parliamentary Group, Varro Vooglaid from the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Group and Helir-Valdor Seeder from Isamaa Parliamentary Group took the floor.

57 members of the Riigikogu supported the passing of the Act and 27 voted against.

Establishment of an annex to the Estonian National Opera

The Riigikogu passed the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Making a proposal to the Government of the Republic to find a solution to the establishment of an annex to the Estonian National Opera” (410 OE), submitted by the Cultural Affairs Committee. It makes a proposal to the Government to find a solution to the establishment of an annex to the Estonian National Opera.

According to the Resolution adopted today, the Government will have to review the nature and heritage conservation restrictions that preclude the construction of an annex to the Estonia National Opera and, if necessary, consider initiating a national designated spatial plan.

The current Estonia theatre auditorium was built solely with the needs of spoken theatre in mind and does not meet the needs of musical theatre. The size of the auditorium needed for international opera and ballet performances would also allow for the staging of works of wider interest and the hosting of guest performances by top companies.

The Riigikogu last expressed its will to build a new opera theatre on 13 September 2021, when it adopted a resolution on the ranking of cultural buildings of national importance, in which an annex to the current National Opera building was approved as one of the cultural buildings of national importance.

During the debate, Kadri Tali from Estonia 200 Parliamentary Group, Heljo Pikhof from the Social Democratic Party Group, Tõnis Lukas from Isamaa Parliamentary Group, Helle-Moonika Helme from the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Group, Signe Kivi from the Reform Party Group and Vadim Belobrovtsev from the Centre Party Group took the floor.

68 members of the Riigikogu supported the passing of the Resolution.

Amendment of the State Budget for 2024 Act

The Bill on Amendments to the State Budget for 2024 Act (389 SE), initiated by the Government, passed the second reading in the Riigikogu. It will make amendments to this year’s state budget in order to raise the minimum salary rate for teachers from 1,803 euro to 1,820 euro. For this purpose, 9.27 million euro will be directed to the local government support fund in the state budget. A 20 per cent differentiation part will be added to the minimum salary for teachers. The calculated average of teachers’ salary will increase by a total of 6.6 per cent to 2184 euro.

The funds for the additional pay for teachers were found from the budgets of the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of Regional Affairs and Agriculture, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Ministry of Social Affairs. The total volume of the state budget will not be changed.

During the debate, Vadim Belobrovtsev and Anastassia Kovalenko-Kõlvart from the Centre Party Group, Tõnis Lukas from Isamaa Parliamentary Group and Margit Sutrop and Annely Akkermann from the Reform Party Group took the floor. Tanel Kiik took the floor on behalf of the Social Democratic Party Group.

Establishment of an Iran support group

After the sitting, members of the Riigikogu are planning to form the Democratic and Free Iran Support Group on the initiative of Member of the Riigikogu Juku-Kalle Raid.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)

Video recording will be available to watch later on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.

Riigikogu Press Service
Maiki Vaikla
+372 631 6456, +372 5666 9508
[email protected]
Questions: [email protected]

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