Position of Savisaar unshaken by incapacity

Edgar Savisaar juunis korraks haiglast lahkumas.

PHOTO: andres putting / delfi/scanpix

Incapacitated for work, Mayor of Tallinn Edgar Savisaar might be released from office. With help from party cadres, the man may stay in office till the elections in 2017. 

As of today, Mayor of Tallinn’s certificate of incapacity for work has lasted for four months. Local Government Organization Act says he could now be released from office, but that would take majority support at council. Thus, Mr Savisaar may rely on people from own party who have what it takes to vote such initiatives down. Then, the mayor could keep his job till the next local government council elections in 2017.

As confirmed by interior ministry media adviser Toomas Viks, the Tallinn city council is under no obligation to release the mayor from office. «If the council does not wish to replace an incapacitated mayor, the mayor may basically stay in office till the next elections,» he said. «By the next elections, the powers of a mayor on work incapacity leave will be terminated automatically, and then the new council will also have to confirm a new city government,» explained Mr Viks.

As also assured by social ministry: an individual may not face compulsory retirement just because he lost capacity to work – the entire procedure must be pursuant to Local Government Organization Act. «City government and its members are nominated by the council, meaning it is also the council that releases them from office,» explained the ministry’s press rep Oskar Lepik. «Even in case of permanent reduction or incapacity for work, working would in no way be prohibited,» he added.

Mr Lepik said that, as a rule, a person incapacitated for work is able to do his job well with the needed rehabilitation and technical aids. «For instance, a person in a wheelchair may work successfully if access to the work place is adjusted accordingly,» he said. He underlined that a person with bodily injury cannot and must not be considered of less value in society and labour market, even for the reason that working will mean his stable income and opportunity to better cope with life.

In March, the Centre Party chairman was also elected into Riigikogu, but till today he has not announced if he would assume the post in parliament waiving mayoral seat, or carry on managing the city.