Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets and Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani, both invited to government by the Center Party four months ago, have officially joined the party.
"The Center Party board confirmed foreign minister Eva-Maria Liimets' and interior minister Kristian Jaani's applications to join Center. The ministers' recommenders were Jüri Ratas, Tanel Kiik and Jaak Aab," the party announced on Wednesday morning.
Center chairman and Riigikogu speaker Jüri Ratas welcomed the new members. "I would like to thank both ministers for taking this challenge and responsibility to go to government. It is undoubtedly a large step, but the decision to join the party shows that both ministers wish to play a part in politics and support Estonia's development from Center's line-up," Ratas said.
Liimets said she is sincerely glad that Center has recognized her former experience in foreign service and invited her to think along on questions of Estonian foreign and security policy as a member of the party's government delegation.
"I highly appreciate the opportunity to work as the first Center-appointed foreign minister to work for our goals as well as securing them, and also for the opportunity to contribute to the development and strengthening of these areas within the party," the foreign minister said.
Jaani said joining the party was necessary for a ministerial post and he promised Center to join when the party made him an offer for the position.
Jaani said Center has taken steps to improve political culture. "Necessary decisions have been made, but I see that the party could establish more specifically what the party's reaction is toward members convicted of an offense. Or what is the value-based behavior of the party and its members during criminal proceedings. These principles should be fixated in the statutes," the interior minister said.
He added that respective discussions have taken place and it has claimed support. "Of course, the ideal is that something like this should not even have to be discussed," Jaani said.
Liimets, a former diplomat, and Jaani, a former high-ranking police officer, joined the Reform-Center coalition representing the Center Party in January after the previous coalition collapsed. Neither were members of the Center Party when they joined.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste