Scandal at Estonia's Parliament: Night of Drinking Turns Riigikogu into a Bar

Scandal at Estonia's Parliament: Night of Drinking Turns Riigikogu into a Bar
Photo: © 2023 Uued uudised

Scandal at Estonia's Parliament: Night of Drinking Turns Riigikogu into a Bar

TALLINN - Estonia's prestigious Toompea Castle, which houses the country's parliament, became the unexpected setting for a scene more suited to a late-night pub last Wednesday. As the Riigikogu (the Estonian parliament) was in session, unruly guests and intoxicated MPs disrupted proceedings, leading to intervention by the police and security personnel.

A Night to Forget

According to the Estonian Broadcasting Corporation (ERR), in the midst of a night sitting, the Riigikogu had to halt proceedings. Juku-Kalle Raid, an MP from the Eesti 200 party, not only consumed alcohol with friends in the large hall of the parliament but was also found sound asleep on his seat during the session. Making matters worse, Raid had invited several drinking buddies to the parliamentary cafe, where they consumed not just beverages from the café but also their own brought-from-home alcoholic drinks.

Chaos Unfolds

The evening's events escalated when some of the guests became increasingly boisterous, disturbing other members of the parliament. The disturbance reached a peak when one of the guests had a verbal altercation with a Riigikogu member. This led to security, overseen by the head of the Riigikogu security group, Valter Pank, stepping in. The unruly guest, along with two others, were escorted out of the building.

Riigikogu member Varro Vooglaid took to his Facebook account to share his shock and dismay at the events, expressing concern over the behavior of some of the drinking companions who had been harassing others until the police intervened.

Voices of Concern

As the night wore on and the session was in full swing, Raid's subsequent slumber did not go unnoticed. Varro Vooglaid addressed the sitting chairman, highlighting the impropriety of an MP sleeping off his intoxication in the parliamentary chamber. Another MP, Anti Poolamets, chimed in, decrying the degradation of parliamentary decorum by bringing in drunk individuals who eventually harassed MPs and then slept off their drunkenness.

The session's chairperson took immediate action, calling for a 5-minute recess. During this time, the inebriated Raid had to be personally persuaded by the chairman to relocate and rest elsewhere.

A Stain on Estonian Politics?

This incident, with its blend of alcohol, sleeping parliamentarians, and unruly guests, raises pressing questions about the sanctity of parliamentary procedures and the conduct expected of its members. As videos and photographs of the episode circulate on social media, it stands as a stark reminder of the need for decorum and professionalism in the august halls of governance.