Ruutel releases Ojuland of her duties

  • 2005-02-09
  • By The Baltic Times
TALLINN 's President Arnold Ruutel on Thursday signed a resolution releasing Kristiina Ojuland from her duties as foreign minister, a move which could lead to a collapse of the government.

The president made the decision after receiving the request from Prime Minister Juhan Parts, who had asked for Ojuland's resignation on Tuesday and the latter refused.

Parts was disturbed by an internal audit of the Foreign Ministry, which found that 91 classified documents went missing from the ministry during 1996 's 2004, and asked the minister to resign. Ojuland, who is a member of the Reform Party, said that the missing document incidents did not pertain to her, even though she had been foreign minister since 2002.

In accordance with the coalition agreement, Parts has asked the Reform Party to nominate a new candidate for the post.

As of Friday it was unclear how the Reform Party would react to Parts' decision, which they claim was made without consulting him. Deputy party chairman Meelis Atonen said on Thursday that the current three-party coalition 's Parts' Res Publica, the People's Union and the Reformists 's could be saved only by replacing the prime minister.

Atonen told the Eesti Paevaleht that the Reform Party wouldn't continue in a government led by Parts. "I believe that neither will People's Union. My opinion is that the same alliance may continue, but then there must be a different prime minister," Atonen, former minister of economy and communications, said.

The party would due to make a decision on Monday, Feb. 14.

Speaking just hours after the president signed the decision, Ojuland suggested she might assume the same office again if that was the wish of the Reform Party. "If the party makes such a decision, I will definitely weigh it very seriously," Ojuland, who is deputy chair of the party, told the evening ETV news on Thursday.

Ansip said on Wednesday that if Ojuland was dismissed the Reformists would most probably nominate her for the post of foreign minister again.

Parliament's board decided on Thursday that due to Ojuland resuming her seat in parliament the mandate of Kristen Michal as member of parliament will expire as of Friday.

In the interim, Defense Minister Jaak Joeruut will serve as minister.