Estonian President Alar Karis has refused to promulgate a law that would provide for the dismantling of a number of design elements from the Soviet period, writes ERR News.
The draft law was approved by the parliament on the 15th of February and was one of the last important decisions of the Riigikogu. The amendments were widely supported by the Isamaa, which is not among the coalition partner candidates after the election.
The President of Estonia exercised his constitutional right to refuse to approve the law and stated that the wording of the law was unclear and therefore contrary to the constitution. President is not against the removal of elements of the Soviet period as such and pointed out that currently, the definition of the law uses phrases that can be interpreted in different ways.
The President noted that the explanatory part of the draft law states that it is prohibited to display and remove from the public space elements that violate the public’s understanding of justice or that pose a threat to national security. He added that it is clear that the law basically refers to design elements associated with the Soviet Union.
However, the wording is broad and that means that those who will enforce the law will have to make their own assumptions about what the law covers.
The principle of legal clarity requires that the law be sufficiently clear and comprehensible for anyone to whom the prescribed actions apply to be able to perform them appropriately.
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the active dismantling and relocation of monuments of the Soviet period began in Estonia, but not everything went smoothly. The municipality of Narva was supposed to dismantle a Soviet tank located at the city border, but when this was not done, the government stepped in and delivered the tank to the Vimsi war museum within a day.
Reform Party MP Kristen Michal said that the veto was expected: «I believe it’s only logical that the composition elected now discusses this again. My recommendation would be to discuss it again, not pass it again in its current form. I believe it can be written more clearly, but how long that will take – that will be demonstrated by the new makeup already.»
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