Res Publica expels disgraced Tallinn council member
The Tallinn chapter of Res Publica expelled Oleg Rebane from the Tallinn City Council on April 3, after he was accused of attempting to bribe Center Party deputy Tonis Bittman to join the opposition party.
The party decided to get rid of Rebane without waiting for actions by legal authorities, according to the party member Rauno Veri.
"Regardless of Oleg Rebane suspending his membership in the city council and the party, we find that by going along with Bittman's provocation he caused significant damage to Res Publica's reputation," Veri said.
The decision follows President Arnold Ruutel's scathing speech on March 31 condemning political corruption in Estonia. "Attempts to set a price to politicians and bargain over it with the aim of making them change sides do not adhere to the rules of fair and acceptable politics," he said.
Bittman had secretly tape recorded a conversation between himself and Rebane in which Rebane had offered him one million kroons (64,000 euros) if he voted against Centrist Mayor Juri Ratas in a confidence vote. The Centrist Party made the tape public last week.
Rebane had resigned from his party on March 29 in order to defend his party against slander. He was hoping to file a criminal complaint against Bittman for secretly taping their conversation.
The city council's chairman, Center Party member Toomas Vitsut, responded with a request to investigate the bribery allegations.
The State Prosecutor's Office said the taping was not unlawful.
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