Laine Randjärv leaving Riigikogu, preparing to run for mayor in Viimsi

Laine Randjärv (Reform). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Confident in being elected to the Riigikogu on 3 March, Reform Party founder, former prime minister, EU commissioner and presidential candidate Siim Kallas announced his resignation as municipal mayor of Viimsi, a position where he has been biding his time since the difficult 2016 presidential election.

As Mr Kallas will need a replacement, the party has picked Reform MP and former minister of culture, Laine Randjärv, to "inherit" the position in the sleeper community just outside Tallinn.

Ms Randjärv has so far resided and been politically active at the local level in the Rae municipality, which has been cause for criticism, along with the fact that her leaving the Riigikogu to stand for election in Viimsi makes her eligible for a comparably sizeable compensation.

As she is stepping down as an active MP just weeks ahead of the general election, rather than simply not running again, Ms Randjärv can claim up to €10,500. The golden handshake was confirmed to daily Postimees by the Chancellery of the Riigikogu on 1 February.

Ms Randjärv is leaving the Riigikogu effective today Tuesday. In her letter of resignation from the parliament, she points out that she is leaving of her own accord: "I have made the decision to resign from my Riigikogu mandate because I am a candidate for municipal mayor of Viimsi. I don't consider it proper to be a candidate while I am still the deputy chairwoman of the parliament's Cultural Affairs Committee," Ms Randjärv wrote.

She couldn't dedicate herself fully to two jobs at once, she added. "And I don't want to be unfair to my current colleagues. The meeting of the municipal council in Viimsi dealing with the election of a new mayor is taking place on 12 February, and I need the time until then to prepare for my candidacy," Ms Randjärv told ERR.

For the remainder of the current Riigikogu, to be gavelled out of existence some three to four weeks after the election, Ms Randjärv's mandate will go to Ivi Eenmaa (Reform).

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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