In a brief interview with ERR on Monday, Minister of Justice Raivo Aeg (Isamaa) confirmed that incumbent Prosecutor General Lavly Perling is willing to serve as acting prosecutor general once her current term ends on Oct. 31.
ERR: Raivo Aeg, have you received a response from Lavly Perling on whether she is willing to serve as acting prosecutor general for a period of time?
Raivo Aeg: Yes, I have received a response from her. Lavly Perling is willing to serve as acting [prosecutor general].
ERR: What's next — how long will her period as acting prosecutor general last, and when do you plan on nominating a new candidate for prosecutor general?
RA: It isn't possible to give an exact date or deadline here. I have to admit, our coalition partners knew how to spice up and complicate the situation. Several people who would have potentially been a very suitable fit for the position are now seriously considering what our good partners in the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) think of them.
ERR: In other words, you are having a difficult time finding a new candidate for prosecutor general because it isn't a very desirable position?
RA: [laughs] That is your arbitrary take on things. But people are thinking about it, I suppose. There's no point in burying your head in the sand, here, because the situation has gotten complicated, in a sense. It's to be expected that people will adopt some kind of positions. But I believe that we have enough courageous and enterprising people in Estonia who are capable of maintaining their spine and take on this responsibility despite the strange opinions of some politicians.
ERR: Have you held any negotiations with specific people?
RA: No, I haven't.
ERR: Lavly Perling has previously told ERR that the new person should come from within the Prosecutor's Office. Do you agree, or are there other possibilities?
RA: All options are currently on the table — the candidate may come from either within the Prosecutor's Office or from outside of it.
ERR: Does the law dictate any sort of restrictions on how long Lavly Perling can serve as acting prosecutor general?
RA: I don't know that precisely whether there is a specific deadline, but it shouldn't be for longer than half a year. It is a temporary position, and we cannot expect that if someone is an acting official, that they will fill this position for years and years. I believe that this is a matter of the next few weeks or month or two.
ERR: I want to ask about EKRE chairman Mart Helme's position from over the weekend, according to which they won't nominate their candidate for [minister of foreign trade and IT, to replace Kert Kingo] until they know who will become prosecutor general. What do you think of that?
RA: Well I've now been given the opportunity to prevent EKRE from naming a minister for a very long time. But I think it's pretty foolish to link these two circumstances together.
ERR: Do you feel as though you are expected to nominate a specific candidate so that they can appoint a specific minister — or that you just nominate someone?
RA: I don't know what Mart Helme was thinking when he brought up such a link. It's completely illogical and incomprehensible to me.
ERR: Do you sense any pressure from your coalition partner regarding who you should nominate?
RA: No, there's no pressure. They've been talking since spring about some possible candidate of their own, but I have yet to be told their names. I will be nominating my own candidate.
Editor: Aili Vahtla