New environment minister likely to join SDE soon
Incoming environment minister Madis Kallas will likely join the party which appointed him to the post, the Social Democrats (SDE), in the near future, though has not submitted his application yet.
Kallas had been mayor of Saaremaa and Muhu until now.
"I pledged that if I were appointed as minister, if it got the green light, then I would also be ready to be a member of the political party unambiguously and clearly, to enable voters and all other members of the government to get a clear picture," Kallas, who has no prior ministerial experience, told ERR.
With regard to SDE, Kallas, who is no relation to the prime minister, said: "I have been associated with them for a very long time. In terms of worldview, as always, with some things this overlaps 100 percent, with other things, less so, but in the bigger picture, it is a worldview that I appreciate."
Kallas ran for SDE in the islands and Lääne County constituency in the 2019 Riigikogu election, but did not take up a seat. He was reinstalled as Saaremaa mayor after the October 2021 local elections, a post which he had resigned from the previous year over the soaring Covid rates the island suffered early on in the pandemic.
Kallas said he will submit his application to join SDE after the new coalition is sworn in Monday, while his replacement as Saaremaa mayor will likely be elected at the council chambers in Kuressaare in late August.
His acting replacement between Monday and that time will be either Mikk Tuisk, who replaced Kallas when he resigned in summer 2020, or Liis Lepik, he said.
The new mayoral candidate will either be Tuisk or Kristiina Maripuu, he added.
The outgoing environment minister is Urmas Kruuse (acting), who is retained as Reform's agricultural affairs minister.
While government ministers can be appointed by political parties without being members, in practice they generally join the party subsequently; two of Isamaa's non-partisan appointees, Lea Danilson-Järg (justice) and Kristjan Järvan (IT and foreign trade) have already announced they are to do just that.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte