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Parliament committee rejects direct presidential elections bill

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The Estonians parliament's constitutional committee decided on Tuesday not to support the amendment to the Constitution, submitted by the opposition's Centre Party MPs, that would introduce direct presidential elections to Estonia, Postimees Online reports.

The committee's chairman Rait Maruste said that the main reason for rejecting the proposal is the fact that the Estonian Constitution prescribes parliamentary order of the state, where the President has ceremonial, procedural and moral leader's functions.

"By giving the head of state a strong direct mandate via direct elections, we create a potential conflict for disputes over powers between the strong mandate and the real constitutional authorities. This opens the way for one time satisfaction of the people over the possibility of elections, but also for further dissatisfaction over why the president doesn't do anything or even worse, for the behaviour of the president outside authorities," Maruste said.

Maruste said that the current procedures of electing the president can and should be improved and the constitutional committee intends to work on that this autumn session. The parliament has the first reading of the direct elections bill on April 11.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/asianet/130406/parliament-committee-rejects-direct-presidential-elections-bill