Kaljulaid in elections studio: I don't wait for problems to pass


Presidential candidate Kersti Kaljulaid appeared live in ETV's elections studio on Sunday night, where she shared her opinions and intentions with viewers on subjects ranging from the unusual one-candidate nature of Monday's elections and how she reacts when faced with issues to sanctions against Russia and cross-party cooperation in the Riigikogu.

Responding to criticism regarding the first round of presidential elections scheduled for Monday that one-candidate presidential elections are not democratic, Kaljulaid stated, "If the majority of the Riigikogu's parliamentary groups has nominated me, then it is a democratic process."

Describing how she reacts when faced with problems, she noted that "I tend to be someone who takes action. If I know that something important needs to be resolved, then it is not in my nature to wait for the problem to pass."

One of Kaljulaid's biggest goals is for the question of whether it is difficult to succeed as a woman to no longer be asked following her term of office.

"A lot of problems remain in Estonia. We have a large gender pay gap, and we have the same problem as many Western countries. When we say that women have equal opportunities, that means that in that case, they must become men. In other words, that they also come home from work and don’t deal with their sick kids. The question is, how can men and women, regardless of their family roles, be equal members of society?"

Estonia must become a leader of innovation

Kaljulaid highlighted the continued increase of wages as one of Estonia's big challenges. She noted that Estonia was stuck in an average income trap from which it could not free itself by offering incentives for foreign capital in hopes that that in turn would lead to jobs and increased wages for Estonians.

"We ourselves must become leaders of innovation," said Kaljulaid. "It is Estonian businesses and Estonian people who will break free from the [average income] trap."

Commenting on the future of the EU, the presidential candidate noted that she didn't agree with the claim that the survival of the EU would require more integration.

"The EU tends to be able to handle emerging problems in such a way that nobody is really satisfied but is nonetheless eventually above them," said Kaljulaid.

In her opinion, the EU should focus on issues which it can better tackle as a whole than as individual member states, such as research policy and larger-scale environmental issues.

On corruption, Russia and Estonian security

Kaljulaid considered corruption to be one of the biggest issues facing Estonia, against which the fight would never end.

"Our own understanding of what corruption is is constantly changing," she explained. "Thus the only option is that everything that a state authority does must be as transparent as possible."

On the subject of Russia, Kaljulaid stated that sanctions against Russia "...have not worked thus far, but that is no reason to abandon them." According to Monday's only presidential candidate, sanctions against Russia may only be lifted after all twelve points of the Minsk Protocol, which dates back to September 2014, have been fulfilled.

Commenting on Estonia's own defense capabilities, Kaljulaid found that Estonia will survive as an independent state for so long as its people's defensive will persists. "And that is something that cannot be determined or measured by a single US think tank," she added.

Describing herself as president, Kaljulaid stated that she had no intention of playing games, but rather would speak to politicians honestly about her positions, adding that as president, she must accept all political parties that have been elected to the Riigikogu.

"As president, parties surely cannot learn about my views from newspaper headlines," she noted, "But they will surely learn about them."

Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla

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