Defense Minister Mart Laar Resigns After Stroke

Mart Laar Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

One of Estonia's most internationally well-known politicians, Minister of Defense Mart Laar, has requested for resignation from his post as he recovers from a stroke.

"I am used to doing my work with complete dedication; I am not capable of doing so right now. For that reason I have decided to leave my post," Laar said on Sunday evening. "It is now time to focus on myself, but I hope to continue to help develop the country with my advice and energy in the future."

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, who is from the other coalition party, shared words of praise about Laar on Sunday, calling him an excellent defense minister and commending his constructive efforts in the coalition government.

Laar suffered a stroke on February 18 while visiting friends. His recovery was complicated by pneumonia caught during his stay at the hospital. The minister was released from the hospital's intensive care unit in mid-April.

During Laar's absence, his ministerial duties have been carried out by Minister of Education Jaak Aaviksoo, who served as defense minister from 2007 to 2011.

On Monday, the leadership of IRL, Laar's political party, will gather to discuss new potential candidates for the defense minister position. In comments to the press, the prime minister said he considered the most logical new candidate for the defense minister seat to be the fresh chair of IRL chair, Urmas Reinsalu.

Laar previously served as Estonia's prime minister and, until recently, was the chairman of IRL, a conservative party that rules in the coalition government.

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