Reform Party: Trouble agreeing on presidential candidate (9)
The Reform Party is divided on the matter of its presidential candidate. Former EU commissioner Siim Kallas has been one of the party’s most influential members since its beginnings, while Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand was brought into the government as an independent.
Former government minister Rein Lang criticized the fact that Kaljurand never joined the Reform Party. When she became Foreign Minister in 2015 after Keit Pentus-Rosimannus’ resignation, it was agreed that the matter of her joining a political party would be discussed only later.
What Lang takes issue with is the fact that Marina Kaljurand is neither a member of a political party nor was she ever elected into public office or parliament. She entered the government as an expert minister, the best available choice at the time. Lang’s argument is that though she represents the country and would do so as president as well, she does not have a mandate, as she was never elected by the people.
Kaljurand herself said to daily Postimees on Thursday that she would think it inappropriate to join a party before the presidential election. The office of president and political parties didn’t go well together, Kaljurand said, and joining a party now now would send the wrong signal.
Support for Kallas and Kaljurand is split among different generations in the party. While Reform’s old guard can be expected to support Kallas, the newer generation tends to support the candidacy of Marina Kaljurand.