Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) on Thursday said that Urve Palo's last day as Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology will be on 23 August. The Social Democratic Party (SDE) has not yet found a new candidate for the post, however.
"According to the law, Urve Palo can work as a member of the government through 23 August," Ratas said at the government's press conference on Thursday.
The Riigikogu is scheduled to convene for its first regular sitting of the autumn session on 10 September. "In order for a completely new person to join [the government], an extraordinary sitting [of the Riigikogu] will be required," he explained, adding that parliamentary groups should begin working out a suitable day for an extraordinary sitting in August before the 23rd of the month.
The prime minister noted, however, that the head of government may bestow the ministerial position to be vacated on another current member of the government.
According to the Government of the Republic Act, the prime minister has one month to forward a minister's resignation to the president, the amount of time stipulated for finding a new minister. A minister will then be appointed to office by the President of the Republic within three days of the receipt of a relevant proposal by the prime minister.
By law, a minister assumes office by taking an oath of office before the Riigikogu.
Social Democrats: No new candidate yet
According to Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt (SDE), the SDE has not yet found a new candidate for Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology to replace Palo.
"Consultations under the leadership of party chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski are ongoing, but there was no candidate as of yesterday at least," he said at the government press conference.
According to Anvelt, a decision of the SDE board is needed to approve a candidate, but the next board meeting is planned for Monday. "As far as I know, however, approving a ministerial candidate is not on the agenda," he noted, adding that this point can still be added.
Anvelt did not wish to speculate on possible candidates for the position, noting that this could narrow Ossinovski's choices.
Among those named as potential candidates in the media have been MP Tanel Talve, veteran politician and researcher Marju Lauristin, Estonian Business School (EBS) professor and Enterprise Estonia supervisory board member Anto Liivat, and e-Governance Academy associated expert and creator of the e-Tax Board Aare Lapõnin.
Palo announced on Monday that she had left the SDE the previous day and handed in her resignation as Minsiter of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology that day.
According to the coalition agreement betweent eh Centre Party, SDE and Pro Patria/Isamaa, the position of Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology is to be filled by a politician appointed by the SDE.
Editor: Aili Vahtla