President Kersti Kaljulaid has formally released Mailis Reps (Center) from the post of education minister, following the latter's resignation Friday evening.
"Last night, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas sent me an application for the resignation of Mailis Reps as Minister of Education and Research, and today I signed a decision releasing her from the position ... on the prime minister's proposal," the president said Saturday.
Reps resigned following mounting pressure after an article appeared on the website of evening paper Õhtuleht Tuesday evening, which provided photographic evidence that the minister had been using the official ministry car for non-official purposes.
These were principally ferrying some of her six children to and from school and kindergarten, which Reps said she had been doing recently in particular, due to workload issues.
Õhtuleht itself faced a backlash over publishing the photos of the children, albeit with their faces obscured, but this was not sufficient to bury the scandal.
The Õhtuleht piece, along with a subsequent article and also one in business daily Äripäev, reported that the practice of using the official car for the school run had been a long-standing one, and that while it was specially taxed for the purpose, this tax in itself was effectively borne by the taxpayer.
Reps apologized for the over-use of the car and promised to get the work-life balance taped going forward, and also denied having pressured ministry staff to work in a child-minding capacity.
While Jüri Ratas (Center) publicly backed her, Reps submitted her resignation Friday evening, calling it a major loss to both the government and the education field.
Editor: Andrew Whyte