Two MPs resign over bar brawl

  • 2005-04-13
  • By TBT staff
TALLINN - Reformist MP Toomas Tein and his colleague Peep Aru issued a statement on April 11 announcing that they would resign their parliamentary mandates after they were entangled in a noisy bar brawl over the weekend.

Late on April 10, Tein and Aru reportedly refused to pay their bill after insulting staff in a downtown Tallinn bar. The bar manager called security, but failing to persuade the two men to pay and leave, the patrol was forced to call for backup, police said.

Helin Taal, a spokesperson for the Pohja police prefecture, said the security service handed the lawmaker-duo, who eventually paid the bill, into police custody. What's more, police officers were forced to handcuff Tein and Aru as they were aggressively assaulting bar visitors.

Both MPs reportedly offended police by cursing them, boasting about their parliamentary status and threatening with their dismissal through their alleged connections within the police department, police said.

The police added that one of the detained had a wound on his head, but harshly rejected medical treatment from paramedics.

A criminal investigation has been initiated in connection with insulting officers on duty. Police might also go so far as to open an administrative misdemeanor case based on the MPs' violation of public order.

Reform Party officials supported the MPs' decision but said it was not clear if the two would be dismissed from the party ranks.

"There is no justification for what has happened, and of course we cannot remain MPs after that," said Aru, who is the chairman of the Reform Party faction in Parliament.

Aru, 51, and Tein, 49, were first elected to Parliament in the March 2003 elections, each scoring around 2,000 votes. Aru was previously mayor of Viljandi and regional affairs minister between 1997 and 2003, while Tein, a renowned doctor from the Tartu University clinic, has been a member of Tartu City Council since 1996.

Tein and Aru will be replaced in Parliament by the former mayor of Paide, Tonis Koiv, and Academy Nord Professor Igor Grazin, who, ironically enough, has had his own escapades when his erratic drunk driving caused a traffic accident two years ago. He was reportedly under the influence at the time.