Jesse: Only journalists have talked to me about taking over as minister

Maris Jesse.
Maris Jesse. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

According to Ministry of Social Affairs Deputy Secretary General on Health Maris Jesse, current Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski, who announced on Saturday that he would be stepping down from his position, has not spoken with her about possibly taking over as minister.

"Nobody other than journalists has spoken to me about this," Jesse told ERR's online news portal on Monday. Asked whether she would consider accepting the position of minister if offered, she replied only that she did not wish to speculate on the matter.

Ossinovski, who is chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDE), announced at a party council meeting on Saturday that he would be stepping down as minister ahead of the 2019 Riigikogu election, but has not yet said who will be replacing him.

"Maris Jesse is certainly a strong public health and health field expert in general," Ossinovski told ERR's online news portal on Sunday. "As for the name of my successor, it is too early to reveal it. As of today we do not have a single candidate yet... Yes, without a doubt I as party chairman must have some ideas, but as of today I have not spoken with a single one yet."

From 1996-2014, Jesse belonged to the Reform Party, but currently does not belong to any political party. Other potential candidates mentioned in the press have included Helmen Kütt, Heljo Pikhof and Rannar Vassiljev.

Vassiljev, who served as Minister of Health and Labour in 2015, told ERR that Ossinovski has not spoken to him about the job either. "I haven't considered it either, although as public relations officer I can appreciate that it is logical to speculate on me," he said.

When Ossinovski returns to the Riigikogu to serve as MP, he will be replacing current MP Rein Randver.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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