Es­to­nian top court: Mps can be­long to ru­ral mu­nic­i­pal­ity, city coun­cils

The Baltic Times - - BALTIC NEWS - BNS/TBT Staff

Es­to­nia's Supreme Court has deemed the amend­ments to the Sta­tus of Mem­bers of the Ri­igikogu Act and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Or­ga­ni­za­tion Act that al­low a per­son to be both a mem­ber of the par­lia­ment and a mem­ber of a lo­cal gov­ern­ment coun­cil to be con­sti­tu­tional.

The coun­cils of the ru­ral mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties of Kopu, Laane-saare, Vormsi and Kose turned to the Supreme Court, seek­ing the amend­ments to be deemed un­con­sti­tu­tional, the Supreme Court stated.

The Supreme Court said that the Con­sti­tu­tion does not stip­u­late that peo­ple who de­cide on is­sues con­cern­ing lo­cal life can not be in­volved in de­ci­sions con­cern­ing the state. "A sit­u­a­tion where MPS bet­ter un­der­stand is­sues of lo­cal life en­sures more ex­ten­sive con­sid­er­a­tion of the rights and in­ter­ests of lo­cal gov­ern­ments in the ac­tiv­ity of the leg­isla­tive body," the top court found.

The con­tested amend­ments do not re­sult in a re­spon­si­bil­ity for the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to de­ter­mine its work­ing time so that it takes into con­sid­er­a­tion the work­ing time of the par­lia­ment. The coun­cil es­tab­lishes its own work­ing time and the laws in ques­tion will not nar­row the au­thor­ity of the coun­cil, the Supreme Court said.

"As the coun­cil is not gen­er­ally the main place of work for the coun­cil mem­bers, the work­ing time must be or­ga­nized so that it takes into con­sid­er­a­tion the in­ter­ests of all coun­cil mem­bers, in­clud­ing their need to con­tinue work­ing in their prin­ci­pal job po­si­tion. A mem­ber of the par­lia­ment as a per­son with a prin­ci­pal job in the par­lia­ment does not dif­fer from other coun­cil mem­bers in that re­gard," the top court said.

It must be noted that Es­to­nia is a par­lia­men­tary state and the main po­lit­i­cal pow­ers are the par­ties. The lat­ter’s goal is to ex­er­cise pub­lic au­thor­ity, as well as au­thor­ity on the level of lo­cal gov­ern­ment. There­fore it is nor­mal that par­ties are rep­re­sented both in the par­lia­ment and in lo­cal gov­ern­ment coun­cils. The ban for MPS to be­long to lo­cal gov­ern­ment coun­cils is thus un­nec­es­sary as the same party can be rep­re­sented in both en­ti­ties any­way.

Re­sult­ing from that, the Supreme Court has de­cided to not sat­isfy the ap­pli­ca­tion of the ru­ral mu­nic­i­pal­ity coun­cils. The law will en­ter into force start­ing from the day the re­sults of the elec­tions to lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity coun­cils are an­nounced later this year.

Li­etu­vos Geležinke­liai (Lithua­nian Rail­ways, or LG) is scrap­ping its pas­sen­ger ser­vice be­tween Vil­nius and Moscow in a move that is ex­pected to save the state rail­way com­pany 2 mil­lion Eu­ros an­nu­ally, but pas­sen­gers will con­tinue to be able to take a Rus­sian train to the Rus­sian cap­i­tal. Start­ing next Mon­day, May 15, 2017, LG'S cars will not be added to the Rus­sian train trav­el­ing from Kalin­ingrad to Moscow via Vil­nius. LG last year saw the num­ber of pas­sen­gers on the Vil­nius­moscow ser­vice drop by 27 per cent com­pared with 2015.

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