Estonian prime minister Tiit Vahi resigned yesterday, two weeks after having announced his intention to quit in order to focus on defending himself against accusations of corruption. Vahi’s resignation automatically entails that of the entire cabinet, but current cabinet members will continue serving in a caretaker capacity until a new government is sworn in. President Lennart Meri has another two weeks to appoint a candidate prime minister, who will then negotiate with the political parties to form the new government. The prospective nominee is Mart Siimann of Vahi’s Coalition party, which leads the outgoing, minority government. Inter-party negotiations already underway toward forming a new government are proving complicated owing to the parliament’s fragmentation.
Vahi, a former trucking company manager, had been prime minister since March 1995. In resigning yesterday he stated that he would not leave politics and that his government’s term of office can be considered successful in advancing Estonia’s economic reforms and Western orientation. (BNS, February 25)
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