Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) has not yet accepted Minster of Education and Research Liina Kersna's (Reform) resignation, saying new ministers should not be nominated while coalition negotiations are taking place.
Kersna tendered her resignation on Thursday after criminal proceedings were opened against her in relation to contacts for government-provided coronavirus tests for schools.
She submitted her resignation on Friday after the prime minister returned from the NATO Summit in Madrid.
Kallas said in a statement that she will not take Kersna's resignation letter to President Alar Karis — the next official step for resigning ministers — until coalition negotiations are finalized.
"Until a new coalition is agreed upon, there is no point in appointing a new minister. Until then, Liina Kersna will continue to fulfill the duties of the minister of Education and Research," said Kallas.
The prime minister said she understood Kersna's desire to resign as the opening of criminal proceedings means she will no longer be able to focus entirely on her ministerial work.
Official: Kallas must give Kersna's resignation to president within 30 days
Kallas must hand Kersna's resignation letter to the president within a month, State Secretary Taimar Peterkop said on Friday.
"According to the law, the prime minister has one month after receiving the resignation letter to go to the president," he told Vikerradio's "Uudis +" program.
Peterkop said it is up to Kallas to nominate a replacement minister.
Estonia currently has a minority government that consists of only the Reform Party.
The party has said it wants to conclude coalition negotiations with Isamaa and SDFE as quickly as possible.
However, after a new agreement is reached, Reform may no longer hold the education ministry meaning another new minister would have to be nominated for the position.
Editor: Helen Wright