From prefect to interior minister: Jaani to help Center beat corruption

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Kristian Jaani. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Northern Police Prefect Kristian Jaan who will become internal affairs minister in Kaja Kallas' government hopes to combat corruption in politics. Asked whether he will join the Center Party that invited him, Jaani said he has taken some time to ponder it.

Jaani was asked by Center Party chairman Jüri Ratas whether we would be willing to become Estonia's interior minister over the weekend and did not have long to think it over.

"What made the decision difficult was Center's involvement in a corruption investigation. That is the most difficult aspect for me as a police official," Jaani told the "Aktuaalne kaamera" news program.

"I was convinced that Center still prioritizes rooting out corruption from the party and takes the matter very seriously. It can be no other way."

Jaani said that he can start from a clean slate and help make sure recent manifestations and suspicions will not be repeated. "There can be none of it in state administration. The subject matter of corruption has been included in the coalition agreement. That is how I can contribute."

As concerns the work of the interior ministry, Jaani prioritizes addressing the spread of coronavirus to which all agencies in the ministry's administrative area have contributed both on the front lines and in terms of crisis management from the very beginning.

Jaani also discussed joining the Center Party with Jüri Ratas. "We have not agreed on a date. I will not be joining right away and have asked for time to think it over. But I understand that is the long-term plan," Jaani said.

Center Party presents new ministers. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Center Party and Reform Party published their ministerial candidates on Sunday. The Center Party's ministers in the new government will be Anneli Ott as culture minister, Tõnis Mölder as minister of the environment, Jaak Aab as public administration minister, Taavi Aas as economy minister, Tanel Kiik as health and labor minister. Kristian Jaani will become interior minister and diplomat Eva-Maria Liimets foreign minister.

Head of Center's coalition talks delegation Mailis Reps said that the posting needed to be discussed at length with Jaani who is a high-ranking police official and as such has certain social guratantees.

"Moving to politics is great change, which is why our discussions were vital in terms of what are great expectations in the field of internal security," Reps said. His involvement should definitely help us go over in-house rules and his background as a police official help render the party corruption-free in every way.

Reps said that candidate for foreign minister Liimets was found thanks to Estonia's European Council presidency during which the party developed trust and cooperation with her. "Because we have not held the foreign portfolio, we quickly decided to go for someone with recent practical experience."

Reps added that Liimets has promised to join Center.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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