Raimond Kaljulaid has been elected chair of the Social Democratic Party (SDE) Tallinn branch. Kaljulaid, who is an SDE MP at the Riigikogu, joined the party late on in 2019 and polled 98 votes against Karin Paulus' 25. Paulus is an art historian who was also in the running at the ballot held Monday evening.
Following his victory, Kaljulaid promised to focus both on strengthening the SDE team, as well as developing entrepreneurship and the living environment in the capital.
He also set the goal of SDE becoming the most voted-for party among Tallinn residents in the local 2026 elections. The next local elections are in 2021.
In a speech Kaljulaid said that standing for the better future of Tallinn translated to the whole country.
"Tallinn plays a vital role in ensuring that Estonia as a whole is a wealthier and fairer society," he said, according to BNS.
"A large portion of our companies operate in Tallinn. Top-level defense industry is located on the edge of Lasnamae, top-level services relating to cyber security are offered on Toompea's doorstep. At the same time, one of Estonia's biggest industrial enterprises is operating at the tip of the Kopli peninsula. Over half of Estonia's GDP is created in Tallinn and Harju County," Kaljulaid, who is a former North Tallinn district city elder, and also sits on the city council currently, where he is also SDE group chair, went on.
Kaljulaid also noted the importance of a well-thought-out enterprise policy with sustainable economic growth, without which strong social protection is unthinkable.
Business in Tallinn and the city's living environment are also inter-twined, he said.
"The tax base of the state and local governments depends on the success of Tallinn's enterprises. This, in turn, has an impact on how much money the state has to shape a good living environment," he said.
"Good public transport, well-maintained roads, parks and the seaside, fitness trails and sports centers, city planning with a sense of perspective, good-quality and accessible social services, healthcare, education and culture; all this ensures a secure life for residents of Tallinn," he continued.
"In the 21st century, success is achieved by involving and empowering talented people and this must also be our goal. Our task is to give good people an opportunity to contribute to the development of Tallinn and Estonia," Kaljulaid added.
Raimond Kaljulaid was formerly in the Centre Party, stepping down in April on the issue of the coalition agreement between Centre and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE).
Speaking at the same meeting, SDE overall leader, Indrek Saar, said that the Centre Party will lose its dominance of Tallinn City Government at the 2021 local elections.
Editor: Andrew Whyte