Estonian interior minister announces resignation for health reasons

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Estonia’s Interior Minister Andres Anvelt announced on Tuesday that he is resigning as minister for reasons of health and will not run in the Riigikogu elections next spring.

The Social Democrat minister said that he was resigning for deeply personal reasons -- health. He said he will continue performing the duties of interior minister until a new minister is appointed.

"I have had my health checked frequently and have understood that to live successfully and happily for many more years I have to change environment, and politics definitely is not the environment where putting your heart in what you do should done at the expense of your heart," Anvelt said. 

"Health is a relatively personal thing. At one moment you sense that different choices should be made in order for health to last longer," Anvelt said. "I will go on doing my work calmly and in a statesmanly manner until a substitute is found for me, and then I will definitely take a rest."    

Anvelt said that he will leave politics altogether and will not take up a seat in the parliament for the slightly more than three months left until the elections.  

"I have been in politics for ten years, five of them in the Riigikogu and three in government. I definitely had a plan to also take part in the work of the next Riigikogu, but in the past couple of days the most important alarm bell that there is, health, has been ringing for me. Ignoring this warning and going on working until something very serious happens is something that I cannot afford to myself or do to the people close to me," Anvelt said.

"These have been very interesting years," Anvelt said, extending his gratitude to Prime Minister Juri Ratas, leader of the Social democratic Party (SDE) Jevgeni Ossinovski and member of the government for cooperation, and political partners and opponents for cooperation and disputes to make life in Estonia better. 

"I wish to them a sober mind, good ideas, and discussions with a view to securing the best future for Estonia," Anvelt said, also offering his gratitude to the people working in the Interior Ministry's area of government. 

Anvelt informed the leader of SDE, Jevgeni Ossinovski, about his decision to resign earlier on Tuesday.

"I received Andres' wish to leave politics with a very heavy heart. I understand of course that we all have only one life and there is nothing more important than health. But it's painful all the same, as Andres is more to me than just a political battle buddy. Andres is my friend. Estonian politics is losing a statesman with a big heart. Thank you, my friend, for your contribution. Take care of yourself." 

Anvelt, who is aged 49, made the announcement during a press briefing he had called for 4 p.m. on Tuesday.  

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