Urve Palo on Sunday quit the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and on Monday submitted her resignation as Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology.
Palo leaving SDE was confirmed to ERR by a representative of the party.
"Yesterday I quit the Social Democratic Party and today I submitted my resignation [as minister] to the prime minister," Palo announced in a statement on Monday.
"I have weighed leaving politics for some time already, and it seems to me as though the time to do so has arrived," she said. "I am leaving with positive feelings. We have done a lot together with colleagues in the party, the Riigikogu and the [Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications]."
"Urve informed me of her decision to leave both her position as minister as well as the party early this morning," SDE chairperson Jevgeni Ossinovski said according to a press release. "The departure of such a good person and experienced minister truly saddens me, but naturally I will honor her decision."
Palo noted that she would serve out the remainder of her term in the Riigikogu, but would not be running for re-election to the Riigikogu next March.
Palo joined SDE in 2006. In the March 2015 Riigikogu election, she ran in the Harju and Rapla County electoral district and was elected with 2,028 votes. In 2011, she earned 5,875 votes in the same district.
Departure prefaced by internal dispute in party
Weekly Eesti Ekspress reported two weeks ago on internal conflicts plaguing the junior coalition party as Minister of Culture Indrek Saar questioned heading into the 2019 Riigikogu election under Ossinovski's leadership. This did not sit well with Palo, who is a strong supporter of the current chairman.
"If I picture Indrek as a chairman at all, then he would be better suited to lead [the Conservative People's Party of Estonia]," Palo said in a written response to Eesti Ekspress. "SDE voters are better educated and more intelligent than average; the leader must meet their expectations."
That day, Saar told ERR, "Yes, that really was a bit unexpected for me to read in the paper. It's really hard for me to believe that Urve actually thinks like this."
Editor: Aili Vahtla