Citizens' Parliament Update, One Week On

laine uudised-laine
15. Jan 2013

Since its launch one week ago, the People's Assembly website has received around 500 proposals, most aiming to reform the electoral system and political party financing rules.

The website, rahvakogu.ee, a volunteer initiative that grew out of the recent political turmoil, was set up by NGOs to bring the lawmaking process closer to citizens.

As of Tuesday morning, the site had received 248 proposals for reforming electoral laws, 97 regarding party financing, 65 connected with local participation in politics, 50 on internal democracy in political parties and 27 on the politicization of public offices. Another 244 proposals were categorized under “miscellaneous.”

“Statistically, the situation is pleasing. Hopefully, the ensuing days and weeks will bring more discussions of quality and substance on the current proposals,” Olari Koppel, chairman of the Estonian Cooperation Assembly, one of the NGOs behind the project, said in an press release yesterday.

According to Koppel, the general attitude of the website's users has been cordial and proposals and comments have been phrased correctly.   

Those who want to make a proposal or comment are required to register with their national ID card. Over 1,000 people have registered so far.   

In the first stage of the initiative, through the end of January, proposals and comments will be submitted online. In February, analysts will go over the proposals and group them into bundles. In March, the proposals that win enough support will be debated at public meetings and presented to Parliament by the president.

The idea for the website was proposed by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves last November during a meeting he called with decision makers in light of widespread criticism of the government.

The website is run by volunteers from NGOs such as the Estonian Cooperation Assembly, the Praxis Center for Policy Studies, the Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations (EMSL), the e-Governance Academy and the Open Estonia Foundation.