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Ethics council: Former prosecutor general's political involvement unethical

Former Prosecutor General Lavly Perling.
Former Prosecutor General Lavly Perling. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Former prosecutor general Lavly Perling becoming a full member of the Isamaa party's "Right-wingers" (Parempoolsed) faction would be an unethical step, the prosecutor's office ethics council ruled Monday.

The council stated that since active prosecutor's are barred by law from joining a political party, becoming a supporting member, which is what Perling plans to do, is also unethical.

Perling's successor as Prosecutor General, Andres Parmas, says he agrees with the ruling, noting that there is also a legal dimension.

Parmas said: "Being supporting member of any party is incompatible with the prosecutor's office, regardless of whether or not a prosecutor is currently active." 

Lavly Perling announced last week that she had decided to become a supporting member of the Right-wingers – a slightly misleading term in English since part of the faction's platform includes distancing itself from coalition partner the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), with some members taking a liberal stance on the definition of marriage – and did not rule out running for them in next autumn's local elections. 

Perling is currently still a prosecutor's office employee, and is under contract working for the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), where she is participating in a working group on the reform of the Ukrainian prosecutor's office.

Perling noted on her social media account that she did not see a conflict of interest, since her work with UNOPS and also for the EU was unconnected with the prosecutor's office.

Perling added that some people in high positions had suggested supporting the movement, but in a low-key way. 

Perling, who failed to get the nomination for a second five-year term last autumn following opposition to her continuing in the role from the EKRE leadership, also noted that prosecutors can vote, publicly express their opinions and participate in civic movements. 

Prosecutors being able to be active in different areas of public life was possible in many European nations, she said, adding justice chancellor Ülle Madise had also proposed this for Estonia. 


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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