Former Reform Party MP Kalle Palling is stepping down from his post as chairman of the council of Harku rural municipality, Baltic News Service reports. Palling had faced charges of spreading the coronavirus from a Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) councillor, who had also expressed an intention to hold a vote of no-confidence in Palling as chair. Palling said the issues behind his decision predated the coronavirus pandemic.
"This is my personal decision, the causes of which lie further back than the present day, as far as to the dispute over the future of Muraste school, the financing of the Tabasalu football club, and the municipality's long-term development vision, which at times became unreasonably drawn-pit and unconstructive," Palling said, according to BNS.
Harku is located immediately west of Tallinn.
Palling said he hoped his resignation would restore a peaceful working atmosphere in the municipality and enable ongoing discussions and decision-making to get a fresh start.
"In the present crisis, we need a functioning council which will search for the best solutions for the municipality's residents, not waste its time on endless rift and personal insults. This is a time for looking in the mirror for several of us," Palling went on.
An EKRE councillor announced on Friday that they intended to initiate a vote of no-confidence in Palling, for spreading the coronavirus by attending a council meeting.
Palling had stated on his social media page earlier that day that a doctor had given him a clean bill of health a few days before, BNS reports.
"Based on that knowledge, I made the decision to take part in the council meeting, which was originally to be held digitally, but the technology failed us," Palling said.
"Despite having been deemed healthy and allowed back to work, I wore a mask as a precaution, regularly washed my hands and kept the required distance from other people," he added.
Editor: Andrew Whyte