Estonian MPs pay rise in balance

Estonia’s president won’t let his MPs lose a penny even if they want to. Toomas Hendrik Ilves is proposing that the State Court annuls a law freezing the salaries of deputies in the country’s parliament – on the grounds it’s unconstitutional.

The MPs passed the law in a second hearing on Tuesday. The president has already rejected it once. According to the decree, the salaries of the deputies will be frozen on January 1, 2009 and won’t rise till February 28, 2010, the day the new parliament starts working.

The average MP now earns around $US 4,000 a month. 

The deputies say they want to be with the people during the hard times of the world financial crisis. The move would allow the Estonian budget to save over $US 3 million.

But the president’s position is that the law goes against the constitution, which allows the MPs to readjust the salaries for the parliament of the next calling, but not for themselves.

“The idea that the constitution may be ignored because the move is supported by a large number of people can put Estonia on a dangerous pass,” said  Ilves.