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Estonian finance minister quits over Facebook comments

27 october 2014, 13:08

 Estonian Finance Minister Juergen Ligi announced his resignation on Sunday after he caused a furore with Facebook comments seen as insulting to the education minister, AFP reports.

Ligi of the ruling Reform Party called the Social Democrat Education Minister Jevgeni Ossinovski an "immigrant's son from the pink party" on his Facebook page on Thursday.

Ossinovski, 28, is the country's only cabinet member of ethnic Russian background.

Ligi, 55, posted the comment after a heated TV debate with Ossinovski about the budget, which saw Ligi blame 50 years of Soviet occupation for Estonia's current economic woes.

After the remark provoked a storm of criticism and put a strain on the ruling coalition, Ligi apologised but maintained that his words were taken out of context.

But at a press conference on Sunday Ligi said he had given into pressure to step down because "Estonia is more important to me than the ministerial position."

Prime Minister Taavi Roivas accepted the resignation and praised Ligi's contribution as finance minister, especially during the years of economic crisis.

Ligi is the first Estonian minister to resign over comments made on social media. But careless comments are nothing new for the veteran politician –- he has in the past made several controversial remarks about female politicians on live TV.

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