The Office of the Prosecutor General confirmed to ERR's online news portal that Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) politician Marti Kuusik, who served for less than two days as Minister of Foreign Trade and IT in Jüri Ratas' (Centre) second Cabinet, was charged with physical abuse last week.
ERR was unable to reach Kuusik himself for contact; his phone went straight to voicemail.
Kuusik, a member of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), served as Minister of Foreign Trade and IT from April 29 to April 30.
On April 29, the day he was to be sworn in as minister alongside the rest of Ratas' second Cabinet, an article was published in the weekly Eesti Ekspress that claimed based on sources known to the editors that Kuusik had been physically and psychologically abusive toward his ex-wife. The article mentioned that the editors' sources were people who knew the Kuusik family personally. That same day, the police and the Prosecutor's Office launched a criminal investigation into the claims under § 121 of the Penal Code, which addresses physical abuse.
On the morning of April 30, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas told ERR that he welcomed the launch of a criminal investigation, as they "needed clarity, fast." He admitted that, "just like the police and other state authorities," he likewise did not have any information regarding Kuusik's alleged violence against his wife, due to which he had no grounds for dismissing the minister.
Later that same day, Kuusik announced his resignation as minister, stating that he was resigning in order to ensure peace for the new government and in the interests of clearing his name and protecting his family.
Record short term of office
Since Estonia regained its independence in 1991, Kuusik is the shortest-serving minister yet at just 30 hours in office, replacing Minister of Rural Affairs Martin Repinski, who served in Ratas' first Cabinet for 14 days.
It was reported on Monday that Kuusik is taking the Estonian state to court, seeking €31,458 in compensation, or six months' wages, for his day and a half in office.
Kuusik was replaced as Minister of Foreign Trade and IT by fellow EKRE member Kert Kingo.
Editor: Aili Vahtla