Female minister resigns because she couldn't speak her mind

Urve Palo, one of Estonia's five female ministers, steps down after being criticized for being honest.

Marian Männi
Marian Männi Eesti Ekspress, Estonia
Source: Eesti Ekspress
Female minister resigns because she couldn't speak her mind - NewsMavens

Why this story matters:

How honest can a minister be? Is there a line? Apparently there is and it was drawn a few weeks ago in Estonia.

Estonia's Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology, Urve Palo, has been in politics for 15 years. She is known for being extremely straightforward and speaking her mind.

But three weeks ago she went too far, according to her fellow party members. Palo belongs to the Social Democratic Party, which has been going through some rough times and they are currently looking for a new leader. Indrek Saar, the current Minister of Culture, was proposed as an option. But Palo publicly opposed the decision, even though they are in the same party.

For this statement, Palo received a wave of criticism that shocked her. 

In an era where it is difficult to attract women into politics and make them share their opinions publicly, scolding them for doing so will not leave a good mark on Estonia's political record.

Urve Palo certainly thinks this is not acceptable. She not only resigned her position as minister this Monday, and left the Social Democratic party, but she will also leave politics for good. She's had enough.

Details from the story:

  • Urve Palo was planning to leave politics for some time already, but always changed her mind. The recent incident was the final blow.
  • She was criticized for speaking her mind about another minister and a fellow party member, Indrek Saar. "If he would be suitable for leading any parties, it would be EKRE (ultra-conservative party that is famous for attacking asylum seekers, migrants and other minorities)," she said about him. Palo later continued that she will stay true to her words. "Saar has given zero ideas in three years. Where are his plans?"
  • Her words were heavily criticized, including by the curent head of Palo's party, Kalvi Kõva, the Secretary General of the party, declared that her words were not appropriate and promised to "speak to her".
  • The situation is even more astonishing, because Saar himself criticized his female fellow party member and a candidate for a minister's position, Heljo Pikhof, a few years ago. Back then, nobody thought much of it. He was not scolded for his words like Palo.
  • "Actually I am thankful to them. They set me free. I don't feel bad or angry. I have always been a proud person," Palo told an Eesti Ekspress journalist.
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Karolina ZbytniewskaEuractiv, Europe
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