Social Democratic Party (SDE) politician Rainer Vakra is to quit both party and politics, to take up a board position in the private sector.
Vakra was seen as a popular candidate for a party which remains in opposition following the recent change in government, though his career was somewhat tainted by charges of academic plagiarism which in 2019 saw him stripped of his bachelor's degree earned at Tallinn University 17 years earlier.
Vakra will work for district heating company Tallinna Soojus, and says the move away from politics was prompted by a desire to avoid potential conflicts of interest. Vakra sits on Tallinn city council chambers, where SDE is also in opposition, and heads up the party's group there.
Vakra told ERR Wednesday that: "I have clearly resolved that you have to keep your word, and I have said throughout that the managers of municipally owned and state owned companies must be politically independent. I will relinquish the seat I won on Tallinn city council, and will be replaced by an SDE member."
"If you want to manage a company, it is not appropriate to be in politics. I will also leave SDE" Vakra said, adding as he was soon to turn 40, this was also a good time to change track.
Vakra was elected board member at Tallinn Soojus Wednesday following a competitive process where he and two other candidates saw off nearly 80 others, with Vakra eventually winning out. He will take up his new post on February 1.
Vakra later resubmitted and successfully defended a new version of his thesis, which focused on waste management.
Editor: Andrew Whyte