Alar Karis' presidential inauguration takes place in Tallinn next Monday

Kersti Kaljulaid meeting Alar Karis at Kadriorg after the latter was elected president on August 31.
Kersti Kaljulaid meeting Alar Karis at Kadriorg after the latter was elected president on August 31. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Alar Karis, elected new head of state in August, will take office next Monday, October 11. The inauguration ceremony and handover from Kersti Kaljulaid on Toompea lasts a little over an hour, during which the honorary company of the guard battalion will be inspected twice, by both outgoing and incoming presidents.

The solemnities will start at 2.15 p.m. Estonian time next Monday, with the arrival of President Karis and the new first lady, Sirje Karis, at Kadriorg, official residence of Estonia's presidents. The Karises will be greeted by President Kaljulaid and the outgoing first gentleman, Georgi-Rene Maksimovski.

After a photo ceremony, both couples will be driven to Toompea, with the outgoing and incoming presidents in the one car, and their spouses in the other.

By that time, Estonian Defense Forces (EDF), Defense LEague (Kaitseliit) and Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) honor guards will have already formed up on Toompea, along with the EDF military orchestra.

When Kaljulaid and Karis arrive at Toompea Castle Square, scheduled at 2.45 p.m., the orchestra will strike up the national anthem, while the outgoing president will inspect the honorary guard.

Kersti Kaljulaid's inauguration on October 10 2016. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Following this, the incoming and outgoing presidents and their spouses enter the Riigikogu building, visiting the Riigikogu speaker's office first, before heading to the main debating chamber, where a sitting begins, at 3 p.m. Once there, Kaljulaid will give a short speech, after which Karis will take his oath of office and will formally become president.

The newly-installed President Karis will then address the Riigikogu, after which the party heads back to Riigikogu speaker Jüri Ratas' office, where they will sign the Riigikogu guest book. After that, both couples will take part in an official joint photo in front of the flags in the Riigikogu's White Hall.

At their departure, President Karis inspects the honor guard and the national anthem will be played once more, by the EDF orchestra.

The return journey to Kadriorg this time sees President and Sirje Karis in the lead car and the now-former President Kaljulaid, and Georgi-Rene Maksimovski, in the second vehicle.

Once inside the building of the Office of the President, Karis and Kaljulaid will be greeted by office staff and a joint photo will be taken, while President Karis will symbolically hand over a flag taken down from Toompea same day.

At 5 p.m., a presidential reception for representatives of constitutional institutions, members of the government and senior government officials will begin at the nearby Kadriorg Art Museum (Kumu).

The two other, living former Estonian presidents, Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Arnold Rüütel, together with Ieva Ilves and Ingrid Rüütel, are also expected.

President Karis, speaker Ratas and Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) are to make speeches.

Kersti Kaljulaid at her inauguration in 2016, with (from left) Georgi-Rene Maksimovski, outgoing president Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Ieva Ilves. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Riigikogu elected Karis as the next president at a session on August 31, the second such ballot after he narrowly failed to reach a two-thirds majority the previous day. Karis picked up 72 votes in the secret ballot at the 101-seat Riigikogu. Estonian presidents' terms last five years, and they are permitted no more than two consecutive terms (further non-consecutive terms are permissible under the constitution).

Alar Karis is the fifth President of Estonia under the current constitution and since the restoration of independence in 1991, and is preceded by Lennart Meri (two terms, 1992-2001), Arnold Rüütel (2001-2006), Toomas Hendrik Ilves (two terms, 2006-2016) and Kersti Kaljulaid (2016-2021).

Karis had already traveled to Kadriorg after being elected (see cover image).

Kersti Kaljulaid has been linked with several international, high-profile roles in the past year or so, including even the post of UN Secretary General. She withdrew from a bid to be the next chief of the OECD early on this year, but is also the UN's Global Advocate for the Every Woman Every Child initiative.

Readers based in Tallinn should be aware that heightened security is likely in the capital on the day, particularly from lunchtime and particularly along the route between Kadriorg and Toompea, meaning there may be disruption on Narva mnt, the main thoroughfare between the two districts of the city.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino, Andrew Whyte

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