Kaja Kallas nixes plan to run for mayor of Tallinn
Reform Party Vice-Chairman and MEP Kaja Kallas has announced that while she had hoped to become her party's candidate for mayor of Tallinn in next year's local elections, she did not find support among the party's leading figures and as a result was dropping the idea of running for the position. She would, however, support Marina Kaljurand for mayor of Estonia's capital city.
Kallas wrote in her blog (link in Estonian) that over the past week, a number of stories have mentioned the news that she was interested in running as the Reform Party's candidate for mayor of Tallinn and lead the party's ticket in next year's local elections. "It is true that I have considered this for some time," she admitted.
The MEP explained that last fall she had gotten in touch with Kristen Michal, head of the Tallinn division of the Reform Party, to discuss their ideas regarding Estonia's capital city, and she told him that she was interested in and had the energy for bringing new ideas to the table as well as leading the party's ticket in the 2017 local elections.
"If [we] achieved a successful result at the elections, which would grant the opportunity to form a (coalition) city government, then I would be ready to leave my life in Brussels behind and come do this with great enthusiasm, because I see just how much more modern we could make city governance," Kallas recalled. "We got together a couple more times, but our respective understanding of potential ideas and strategies for how to approach the elections did not coincide."
Kallas said that various other party members from the Tallinn division had contacted her at the same time who expressed their support for her potential candidacy in the country's capital. "I also clearly expressed that I wished to be the party's mayoral candidate and that if the elections were succesful, then I would come back [to Estonia]," she explained, adding that she had also met with party chairman Taavi Rõivas, to whom she also expressed this wish.
"The chairman of the Tallinn division told me (perhaps half-jokingly) that Tallinn voters want a white heterosexual male, father of two [for mayor]," said the MEP. "While I still do not essentially agree with this statement, considering the various statements of the party's leading figures last week it is clear that I do not have [their] support in leading the local election campaign."
Consequently, Kallas continued, she was announcing publicly that she was prepared to withdraw her candidacy for mayor of Tallinn. "I don't want a repeat of the same situation we saw in the presidential elections, where there actually wasn't any clarity or support for a single candidate and everyone lost as a result," explained the party's vice-chairman.
"If you ask me now who among named candidates (Kristen Michal, Yoko Alender, Marina Kaljurand) I'd be ready to support, then out of this lineup, Marina Kaljurand would have the greatest chance," Kallas continued. "Marina Kaljurand could engage with both Estonians and Russians as well as older and younger people alike. This would be an opportunity for her to realize the large amount of support she garnered in the presidential elections at actual elections."