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The Riigikogu passed with 53 votes in favour (20 against) the European Parliament Election Act Amendment Act (937 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party Faction, Estonian Centre Party Faction and Estonian People’s Union Faction. Pursuant to the Act, the election of the European Parliament will be carried out using the method of closed lists of candidates. Pursuant to the Act, at the election of the European Parliament voters would give their vote either to a political party (but not to a concrete candidate on the list) or to an independent candidate.  As the votes will be given to the list of candidates of a political party as a whole, the Act does not provide for re-ranking of the candidates according to the number of received votes. The candidates will be elected according to the order determined by the political party and the number of mandates received by the list.

The Riigikogu passed with 74 votes in favour the State Family Benefits Act, Social Welfare Act, Social Benefits for Disabled Persons Act and Parental Benefits Act Amendment Act (952 SE, 977 SE, 139 SE and 926 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic and Members of the Riigikogu Siiri Oviir and Marika Tuus and the Isamaaliit Faction and Res Publica Faction. The scheme for the payment of family benefits will be simplified as of 1 July 2007. The family benefit which is paid once per quarter and which depends on the number of children will no longer exist. At the same time the child allowance will be increased to EEK 900 per month beginning from the third child of a family. The benefits for the families with many children will also increase, for example the benefits for a family with three children will increase from EEK 1,200 to EEK 1,500, for a family with four children from EEK 1,800 to EEK 2,400, for a family with five children from EEK 2,250 to EEK 3,300 and for a family with six children from EEK 2,700 to EEK 4,200. Since 1 July 2007 the foster care allowance of a child will increase from EEK 900 to EEK 1,500 per month. From 1 July 2007 family benefits will also be paid to the children from 16 to 19 years of age who are acquiring secondary education in a night school, acquiring distance education or studying according to a reduced curriculum. 

The Riigikogu Press Service