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Lang withdraws from position as Pevkur's adviser

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Rein Lang (Reform).
Rein Lang (Reform). Source: (Liis Treimann/Postimees/Scanpix)

Rein Lang, who was recently hired as adviser by Second Vice-President of the Riigikogu Hanno Pevkur (Reform), has announced that he is withdrawing from the position as he found it would be impossible to work in the situation that had sprung up in response.

Lang, a fellow member of the Reform Party chaired by Pevkur, said in a press release that it was highly regrettable and sad that the new year began with such trouble.

"When Hanno Pevkur invited me to become his adviser, we could indeed anticipate that the official formalization thereof may draw attention, but could not predict such enthusiasm on the part of our opponents to immediately make a campaign of it," he said.

"Our own words were used against us, because we did not know how to say them reasonably," he said, admitting to their mistake.

Lang promised to advise the party chairman regardless, should Pevkur so want or need — "Regardless of formal position, speak nothing of state salary," he added.

From a political transparency standpoint, Lang believed that the formalization of such advising would be a rather necessary and positive step, as it would help head off any conspiracy theories. "Which is precisely why it's grotesque that those who talk loudly about the need to change the political culture are fighting against political transparency," he added.

Pevkur, who said he had asked Lang to be his adviser due to the latter's experience and knowledge, said that he was sorry that the situation took such a turn.

"A man who was one of the authors of the Constitution, has borne the responsibilities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Culture and Justice alike, as well as been a vice-president of the Riigikogu himself, would have certainly been a worthy addition during a time when changing the presidential election process, the Riigikogu election process and the Riigikogu's rules of procedure and operating procedure are being discussed in the Riigikogu," said Pevkur in response to Lang's announcement. "These are just elements of state reform, which needs conceptual content regarding how we will be up to keeping our country in ten, 20, 30 years."

Hired for €2,700 monthly salary

Lang told ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Thursday that he had signed a contract with the Chancellery of the Riigikogu for the political counseling of the Second Vice-President of the Riigikogu, the focus of which would be issues concerning state reform. He was to earn a monthly gross salary of €2,700.

Lang, who has previously served as Minister of Foreign Affairs under Juhan Parts as well as Minister of Justice and later Minister of Culture under Andrus Ansip, was in January 2016 hired by the Estonian-headquartered software development company Nortal to lead the company's political and legal consultancy division. Asked whether he would be devloting himself to full-time work in the Riigikogu, Lang had responded that he would "not be leaving Nortal."

The newly hired adviser had confirmed, however, that he would also be working on the Reform Party platform, because he and Pevkur have been authorized by the party to do so.

Pevkur told ERR this week that Lang's responsibilities as his adviser would first and foremost center on matters related to state reform and constitutional law. "His duties here, working for me part time, will center primarily on constitutional law," added the vice-president.

According to a spokesperson for the Chancellery of the Riigikogu, Lang was under contract with them for full-time employment.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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