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Party mates demand Kiisler's resignation as environment minister

Minister of the Environment Siim Kiisler (Pro Patria) faced sharp criticism from fellow party members at a discussion in Tartu on Monday night regarding the national designated spatial plan for a proposed €1 billion pulp mill.

Peeter Laurson, former head of Pro Patria's Tartu chapter, told ERR on Wednesday morning that Kiisler's suitability for the position of minister should first and foremost be discussed in the party's own honour court.

"After that, his removal from office needs to be initiated, as trust in him has been used up," Laurson continued, adding that Kiisler has been spouting only hypocritical talk.

In Laurson's opinion, Pro Patria's leadership needs to develop a firm position regarding the planned pulp mill, but he noted that dissatisfaction with the party in Tartu goes beyond this one issue.

Meeting gets heated

"When are you stepping down?" "How much are you earning off of this?" "People loathe Pro Patria already!" "Whose interests are in play here?" "Why are you lying?" "What have you even done this year?" "All year you have screwed with the heads of Southern Estonians!" — were among the questions and comments Kiisler was faced with at the meeting, reported regional daily Tartu Postimees (link in Estonian).

Kiisler replied that the impact of the proposed pulp mill on the Emajõgi River is to be studied, and added that the biggest source of pollution of Estonian rivers is neither manufacturing nor cities, but rather agriculture.

Each comment by the minister was followed by a new round of criticism, and according to the paper, there wasn't a single person present who was satisfied by Kiisler's responses.

According to Laurson, Kiisler has been given one day's time, and should he change his position, Pro Patria's Tartu chapter will not initiate his removal from office.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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