Kaljulaid about running again: I would never say 'no' to my country

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President Kersti Kaljulaid. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Commenting on possibly running for president again, current president Kersti Kaljulaid told regional daily Lääne Elu that she would never say "no" to serving her country.

Responding to a question about possibly running for president again, Kaljulaid said it is not a question for her, but instead the Riigikogu.

"I have clearly stated that I would never say 'no' to my country. I thought it through when [former] prime minister Mart Laar called me to work for him. I did not want to say 'yes', but we had dreamed for Estonia to become independent and free. I thought if my country is calling for me, how will I not go? I have lived by the same principle and that has brought me here. The situation in 2016 was similar - I will never say 'no' to my country," Kaljulaid said.

Lääne Elu specified that if someone was prepared to propose Kaljulaid, she would be prepared to run again. "That is not exactly how it goes, political groups should try to find a consensus and an agreement on how they see the president's role in Kadriorg. I think it is actually not reasonable to organize campaigns that look like direct election campaigns in a situation where we do not have direct elections," the current president noted.

She does not support direct presidential elections, however. "I am a supporter of parliamentary order. The president's role is defined narrowly by law. The president's role is to defend the constitution and I can admit I could not imagine in 2016 that the constitution could see so many amendments in the next five years as it now has. It is my constitutional task," Kaljulaid said.

Non-parliamentary party Eesti 200 has come out strongly in support of Kaljulaid receiving a second term as president. The Social Democratic Party has also said they would likely support her continuing as president. Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) has also previously said Kaljulaid has done well as president, but that was when Reform was still in opposition.

No other clear candidates have been unveiled yet, but previous prime minister and Center Party chairman Jüri Ratas is rumored to run. President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences Tarmo Soomere threw his hat in the ring in March. EKRE's candidate might be former Riigikogu speaker Henn Põlluaas.

The full interview in Estonian is available here.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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