Today, members of the Riigikogu tested the technical solution created to conduct a sitting with distance participation; this would allow participation at the sitting by electronic means without being physically present in the Riigikogu Plenary Hall.
The President of the Riigikogu Henn Põlluaas was happy to see the system function. “This is a big step forward in case we cannot meet and must switch to telework,” Põlluaas said. “The first trial with the participation of representatives from all the political groups also revealed some shortcomings that must be addressed. The key to a successful sitting with distance participation is first and foremost internet connection.”
Põlluaas explained that holding a sitting with distance participation is something that the Board of the Riigikogu would decide for compelling reasons. The relevant procedure is being developed and has been sent to every political group to invite proposals.
Convening a sitting with distance participation follows the procedure for extraordinary sessions; the President of the Riigikogu notifies the MPs via mass media at least three days before the scheduled sitting. Shorter notice is allowed in case of compelling reasons.
Administrative Director of the Chancellery of the Riigikogu Ahto Saks explained that a completely new and unique platform had been created to carry out telesittings, and that this had been integrated with the existing voting information system. “A member of the Riigikogu can do everything exactly as if they were sitting in the Hall,” Saks said. “This ensures the opportunity to follow sittings from a distance, submit draft legislation, present reports, ask oral questions, make comments, protest, and vote.”
Concerning the security of the sitting, Saks said that a member of the Riigikogu uses electronic means of identification known only to themselves, and that every member of the Riigikogu has the duty to ensure voting privacy. “Online participant receives an image with minimum delay into their device. The same image is displayed to the chair of the sitting and transmitted in live broadcast,” Saks said.
The Riigikogu passed the Act on Amendments to the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act (176 SE) in May to allow sittings with distance participation, and the Act came into force in June.
Photos of the sitting. (Erik Peinar, Chancellery of the Riigikogu)
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