President Kersti Kaljulaid celebrates birthday with Kadriorg reception

President Kersti Kaljulaid celebrated her birthday on Monday, with a reception attended by one of her predecessors, Arnold Rüütel, and his wife Ingrid.

Monday was actually the head of state's 50th birthday, and guests also included chief of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) Elmar Vaher, and deputy speaker of the Riigikogu Siim Kallas (Reform) (see gallery).

Born in Tartu, Kersti Kaljulaid graduated cum laude from the University of Tartu, majoring in genetics. She worked as an economic adviser to then-prime minister Mart Laar from 1999-2002, and was head of the accounting department at the Iru power plant in Maardu, east of Tallinn, later becoming its director.

Following Estonia' accession to the EU in 2004, she was appointed Estonia's representative at the European Court of Auditors, where she remained until 2016. She was also appointed chair of the University of Tartu's board in 2011.

After several failed rounds in the 2016 presidential election, Kaljulaid was proposed by the Riigikogu's council of elders, made up of representatives of all elected parties, as well as the speaker and vice-speakers, in late September. She received 81 votes in favor as president in early October, with 17 abstentions, at the 101-seat Riigikogu, and assumed office on October 10 2016.

In 2017, she became the first Estonian to be featured in the Forbes magazine's list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women, in 78th place.

President Kaljulaid has four children, and is also a grandmother.

Her official seat of office is the Kadriorg administrative building (Kadrioru administratiivhoone) constructed in 1938, close to the Kadriog Palace, which was built during the reign of Peter the Great in the early 18th century, for his wife, Catherine I (Kadriorg, the name of the surrounding district as well as the palace, literally means "Catherine's valley").


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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