Gallery: Jüri Ratas hands over prime ministerial post to Kaja Kallas

Outgoing prime minister Jüri Ratas (Center) told his replacement, Kaja Kallas (Reform) that the office is first and foremost one of responsibility to the country's populace, adding that he was sure she was up to the task.

"I wish you strength and success. I am sure that you will stand up for the well-being and interests of our people, and that you will do very well as prime minister," Ratas told Kallas at Tuesday's official handover, while noting the ongoing struggle with the pandemic.

For her part, the new prime minister thanked her predecessor for his own work in the role, which he had held since November 2016.

Kallas said: "Thank you for the contribution you have made as prime minister in representing Estonia's views both at the EU and in relations with the [NATO] allies, and for the work that the previous government has done to contain the coronavirus epidemic. I know that this is not only a great honor, but it is also a responsibility and bestowment of trust that a prime minister must be worthy of."

Kallas noted continuing to deal with the pandemic was one of the main goals for her administration, and spent her first day on the job getting acquainted with government office staff, including issuing greetings via remote video link, followed by the new cabinet's first official sitting at the Stenbock House, seat of the Estonian government, at the other end of Toompea and about 500 meters away from the Riigikogu.

Her cabinet took its oath of office earlier in the day at the Riigikogu, before President Kersti Kaljulaid.

She also noted the aim of continuing the country's forward-looking stance and development of all areas and regions.

Jüri Ratas listed his administration's main achievements as being a growing population, improved standards of living, state reforms, increased defense spending and an enhanced international position.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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