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Edgar Savisaar could get legal immunity as MEP

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Former Mayor of Tallinn Edgar Savisaar.
Former Mayor of Tallinn Edgar Savisaar. Source: Postimees/SCANPIX

Former Tallinn mayor Edgar Savisaar (Centre) may get a European Parliamentary seat, daily Postimees reports. The development would bring him legal immunity.

Mr. Savisaar was involved in an on-off corruption court case from summer 2017, which his health issues halted.

The Estonian parliamentary (Riigikogu) election's timing on 3 March, with the European elections following on 26 May 2019, means Mr. Savisaar could replace Indrek Tarand MEP during the gap, if not before.

Hinges on Indrek Tarand's movements

Indrek Tarand MEP announced on Friday he is standing for the Riigikogu with the Social Democratic Party (SDE). He has not actually joined SDE. Running number one on the list in the Pärnu electoral district, he ought to be a shoe-in at the Riigikogu. In any case, if and when Mr. Tarand exchanges Brussels for Tallinn, Mr. Savisaar can take the vacated seat.

As an independent, under European rules, Mr. Tarand leaving parliament while it is still in session means the void is filled by the runner up at the previous election.

Mr. Savisaar finished second to Yana Toom (Centre) in the 2014 European elections with 18,516 votes, so could automatically replace Mr. Tarand.

MEPs' legal immunity

Brussels might seem an attractive destination to Mr. Savisaar following the court case; MEPs' immunity can only be stripped at a member state's request followed by discussion and voting at the next plenary sitting of the European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs.

Mr. Savisaar stood accused alongside several others of bribery and other corruption issues. His supposed ill-health meant hearings at the Harju County Court eventually had to be abandoned, in summer 2018.

Possible city government return

Savisaar may also return to the Tallinn City Government soon.

The Tallinn electoral committee is to meet on Tuesday to weigh up restoring Mr. Savisaar's city government seat, having received an application request from him to that end, committee spokespersons told the Baltic News Service on Monday.

Mr. Savisaar's city government membership was suspended from mid-June to 15 September 2018. His seat was given to Olle Koop (Pro Patria).

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: BNS

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