Former prime minister not running for president
Former Prime Minister and member of the European Parliament Andrus Ansip (Reform) said he should not be connected to speculation about the presidential elections taking place in autumn.
"I don't like this idea. And it's completely the wrong reasoning. When you have been a leader with executive power and given your everything, then it seems redundant to apply for a representative position. I don't want that. There's is no reason to speculate about my name in this context," Ansip said on the Vikerraadio morning show on Tuesday.
Ansip said the idea of current President Kersti Kaljulaid going to politics after leaving the position would be acceptable.
"A person does not have to retire after being a president and start waiting for their life to end. And she doesn't have to look for output abroad. She could be active in Estonia - this is very acceptable."
Discussing the new Kaja Kallas government, Ansip was very positive and said the change of government was well received in the rest of Europe.
"It is evident that Estonia has a new and youthful government who are looking to the future and have an open worldview. I don't understand these Estonians in the European Union who say that nobody asks what is going on in Estonia. I have been asked that a lot. Smiling female ministers is a strong message to the outside world. This is a big difference compared to the last vicious government that offended its people and allies," Ansip said.
Asked, in his opinion, if a future government formed by Reform Party and EKRE, two parties at the extreme end of the political spectrum, is likely he said: "Firstly, I don't think the Reform Party is extremist. We have clear opinions, but to compare us with EKRE, it's not possible. Political culture and not having any culture are very different. I can't imagine this coalition now or in the future."
Speaking about the hate speech law that Estonia is obligated to accept under EU law, he said it should be implemented but conservatively. Ansip added that all European states except for Estonia and Romania have incorporated the law to their legislation.
"If someone says that this regulation means that angry speech is not allowed, it is an obvious exaggeration. In the countries that have adopted it, no one has given up freedom of expression. The Nordic countries are at the top of the ranking of press freedom, although they have accepted it."
Ansip added that it should be further clarified what this law is actually meant for. "It has a general preventive idea. This provision should have a preventive effect. And we should accept this directive conservatively. Not extend it to insulting a neighbor or restricting freedom of expression."
Speaking about the Covid-19 crisis, Ansip said that he believes that normal life will be restored soon and that the key is vaccination and its pace.
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Editor: Roberta Vaino