Kaljulaid: Power of president lies in values, people's trust

Kersti Kaljulaid speaking in the Riigikogu on October 11, 2021.
Kersti Kaljulaid speaking in the Riigikogu on October 11, 2021. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The power of the Estonian president lies in the framework of the values set out in the Constitution and the trust of the people, outgoing head of state Kersti Kaljulaid said in her last speech to the Riigikogu on Monday.

Speaking before president-elect Alar Karis took the oath, she said he has been given the opportunity to take a fresh look, the look of the new president, at Estonian life.

She said that parliament relies on a head of state with limited powers, who has to define for everyone where we come from and where we are going. This is what the people expect of the president. Parliamentary Estonia entrusts its head of state with the supervision of the meaning and the provisions of the Constitution. This is what the Constitution requires of the president.

Kaljulaid noted the president only has the liberal democratic values described in the Constitution and the trust of the people to base himself or herself on.

"But can there be greater support than the framework of values set out in our Constitution? Or a stronger mandate than the trust of the people? There cannot be. And therein lies the power of the president of the Republic of Estonia," she said.

"I am very happy that Estonia has remained true to its choices formulated in the Constitution in 1992, because only such an Estonia can be independent forever," the outgoing president said.

Kaljulaid noted Estonia faces many difficult choices related to the green transition, the transition to Estonian-language education and a world that is changing ever more rapidly, and there is no better guide than constitutional values when making choices.

"Things can only go wrong if and when we ourselves retreat from these values. It is true that the last five years have been filled with intense debates about these very values. But I have felt the strong support of the Estonian people for these values," she added.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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