New IT minister: No reason found yet to stop holding e-elections

Minister of Foreign Trade and IT Kaimar Karu. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

In an interview with ERR journalist Toomas Sildam, recently sworn in Minister of Foreign Trade and IT Kaimar Karu said that his job is to ensure that the e-voting component of elections in Estonia is transparent, understandable and secure.

Toomas Sildam: Do you know what Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) supporters expect first and foremost of you?

Kaimar Karu: I have met with the parliamentary group as well as with EKRE members and supporters; their expectations vary.

TS: Quoting the post of an EKRE supporter, "I very much hope that the investigation of the e-election fraud committed by a criminal gang of Social Democrat-rats continues." Will you continue investigating?

KK: Let's leave aside the second half of that altogether. [grins] My job isn't to investigate fraud. My job is to ensure that the e-voting component of elections in Estonia is transparent, understandable and secure.

TS: Have you voted online in elections?

KK: I have, yes.

TS: Are you willing to reveal which party you voted for?

KK: No.

TS: How secure are Estonia's e-elections?

KK: I'm unable to say at the moment. Various working groups have previously scrutinized them, and thus far not one reason has been found to stop holding e-elections. At the same time, the matter is still unresolved.

TS: For whom is it unresolved?

KK: Some Estonian citizens.

TS: Including you?

KK: In terms of transparency, yes. My biggest concern is that complex systems are very difficult to explain in such a way that everyone understands. It seems to me as though we haven't had enough time previously to better describe the e-election system to those who aren't technology people, aren't part of the tech sector, and haven't learned IT.

TS: What did EKRE deputy chairman, Minister of Finance Martin Helme convince you to leave the hubbub and pubs of London and come to an even drearier Tallinn with?

KK: [laughs] Martin Helme offered me an opportunity. I did most of the convincing myself. There's that saying about offering help if you see something done wrong. You don't get too many opportunities to come and help like this.

TS: You didn't cautiously recommend to Martin Helme that they pick a new minister from within EKRE again?

KK: I may be very humble, as an Estonian, but not that humble.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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