Estonian Defense Minister Laar Steps Down, Citing Health

May 7 (Bloomberg) -- Estonia’s Defense Minister Mart Laar resigned, citing health reasons.

Laar, 52, who suffered a stroke in February, submitted his resignation to Premier Andrus Ansip yesterday, according to an e-mailed statement from the Isamaa ja Res Publica Liit junior coalition partner. His party is due to meet today to propose a new candidate for the post.

Laar, Estonia’s first elected prime minister after the country regained independence in 1991, liberalized prices in the Baltic nation and began privatizations. Under him, Estonia became the first country Eastern Europe to introduce a flat income tax in 1994.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ott Ummelas in Tallinn at oummelas@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net