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President of the Republic Did Not Promulgate the Legal Chancellor Act

Yesterday, President Lennart Meri decided not to promulgate the Legal Chancellor Act Sections 6 and 44 Amendment Act passed in Riigikogu on April 3. Pursuant to the currently valid Legal Chancellor Act, legal chancellor must be a legally capable citizen of Estonia with high moral qualities who is fluent in the Estonian language. The new draft of the act also establishes an age limit, educational level and length of continuous employment for the legal chancellor, but the Constitution does not prescribe such limits for the legal chancellor. The new requirements considerably narrows the circle of candidates and the right of the President of the Republic to sent the most eligible candidate to Riigikogu. The restrictions are contrary to the autonomy of constitutional institutions in exercising their competence arising from the principle of separation of powers provided for in the Constitution, which the Supreme Court has already emphasised in its judgement no. 3-4-3-98 from April 14, 1998.

Should the bill of law enter into force, it would already be possible to name the few persons from among whom the President of the Republic should nominate his candidate in 2008. With this, Riigikogu would achieve a result that is opposite to the one desired. The law amendment does not guarantee that the next legal chancellor would be eligible for fulfilment of his or her tasks in the best way possible, because the possibilities of the President to find a good candidate would be seriously restricted. The President of the Republic must consider the smallness of Estonia also in staff policy. ''I would tie the hands and feet of my successor with this bill of law,'' said President Meri. However, Riigikogu has the final say in appointing the legal chancellor. Riigikogu decides whether the candidate of the President corresponds to the spirit of the Constitution.

The President promulgated the Holidays Act passed in Riigikogu on April 4, the Law of Property Act Implementation Act, the Water Act and the Planning and Construction Act Amendment Act passed in Riigikogu on April 10, and the Organic Agriculture Act passed on April 11. President also promulgated the Code of Administrative Offences Amendment Act and the Ratification of the Multiannual Financing Agreement of the Pre-accession Program of Development of Agriculture and Rural Life in the Republic of Estonia Concluded between the Commission of European Communities, Who Represents the European Community and the Republic of Estonia Act.

Press Service of the Office of the President of the Republic of Estonia
Kadriorg, April 25, 2001


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