MP Eerik-Niiles Kross (Reform) is leaving the Riigikogu to travel to the U.S., where he will spend half a year conducting research at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Kross, who is leaving the Riigikogu as of 14 June, will be replaced by alternate member Vilja Toomast, Reform Party spokesperson Kajar Kase told ERR on Wednesday.
Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society granted Kross a research scholarship.
Each year, the centre selects a few dozen scholars from various countries to work on research on their own chosen topics. Kross is to research the defence and prevention of attacks on democratic elections. The centre wishes to compile a corresponding manual which looks at different countries' experiences and proposes a set of recommendations for the defence of countries' electoral systems.
"For years, I have been both an observer as well as a subject of Russian influencing activity," Kross said. "It's great that Harvard wants to take advantage of this experience. In order for me to be able to fully focus on this [work], I find it natural that someone else represents the voters in the Riigikogu during this time."
Kross noted that he reached an agreement with the centre that he would be able to return to Estonia in time for the Riigikogu election campaign and run for re-election to the Riigikogu.
Editor: Aili Vahtla