President Alar Karis has released Tõnis Mölder (Center) as environment minister and appointed Erki Savisaar (Center) in his stead, at the official proposal of Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform). The head of state met with Kallas and Savisaar at Kadriorg for the official nomination.
Of Tõnis Mölder's resignation, announced Tuesday evening and formalized the following morning, the president said that the outgoing minister had: "Taken a well-thought-out decision, one which had been thoroughly discussed with relatives and with the party. I understand his thoughts and I understand what he considers to be the priorities now."
Of the new minister, whose appointment was announced at the same press conference where Mölder announced his resignation, the president said he: "Has a background in entrepreneurship and the IT field, which will definitely help in seeing the different opportunities for the green revolution, since reducing our ecological footprint goes hand-in-hand with restructuring our economy."
Given the ambitions the EU and Estonia itself has in transforming society along more environmentally-friendly lines, the effective management of the environment ministry is vital, Karis added, and said that Savisaar's past experience – already outlined at length on Wednesday by Center leader Jüri Ratas but including chairing the Riigikogu's environment committee – will be ideal here.
"With that, what else other than strength to your work," the president added.
Mölder's resignation was the second by a minister in the space of two weeks, following Anneli Ott's (Center) resignation as culture minister. No minister had left office up until that point, since the Reform/Center coalition entered office in late January.
Savisaar, who until Wednesday had been an MP and chair of the Riigikogu's finance committee, must next take his oath of office before the Riigikogu, and a replacement MP must be found from the Riigikogu's list of alternate members (government ministers do not sit in the Riigikogu).
Savisaar is the son of Center Party co-founder, former prime minister and former Tallinn mayor Edgar Savisaar.
Editor: Andrew Whyte