Critic: I should be new culture minister

Meelis Oidsalu.
Meelis Oidsalu. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Cultural critic Meelis Oidsalu considers culture minister Anneli Ott's performance during her resignation speech was unconvincing, with the speech scripted by the party, while the minister herself was incompetent, he says. He also proposes a replacement candidate who he says would get the job done much more effectively - namely himself, though qualifies this with a dose of reality to the extent that this is not likely.

Oidsalu is not likely to have to wait long to see if his hopes of getting the nod bear fruit - an announcement of the potential candidate is expected Wednesday afternoon.

Oidsalu told Vikerradio's "Vikerhommik" on Wednesday that while he sees himself in the role, in reality Center is likely to pick its own candidate.

"The Center Party has been partial to appointing so-called people's judges to the government, mainly based on their circumstances," he told the show.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they've already made a proposal to Koit Toome (a well-known pop singer-ed.), or maybe an actor to become the new minister. I personally hope that it will be a person who has experience in leading. In Ott's case, there obviously wasn't enough experience there," Oidsalu went on, adding that as a cultural critic, the narrative of Ott's resignation was strange. In his estimation, Anneli Ott was trying to turn the attention in her favor.

"This put-on show was a bit unconvincing. As was the timeline of events," Oidsalu commented.

Oidsalu emphasized that last week Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said that there was no reason why Ott should resign, then the allegedly anti-vaxxer Ott went got vaccinated with one dose, and after that announced she was still going to resign.

"These kinds of resignation decisions bring attention to the party. The Reform Party was made the culprit of the whole situation. It's not only a matter of the cultural sector, but in general, they are wanting to implement restrictions, but not compensate," he added.

"The situation was ugly in the coalition," Oidsalu said.

"The Center Party is keeping the distance, while they had actually written it all down," Oidsalu said referring to the fact that the party had penned Ott's resignation speech.

In Oidsalu's estimation, the parties are playing a foolish game, but both parties could come out of the situation as winners. Cultural sector workers have an expectation from the government to change its direction.

Ott said he also does not believe that such people would be sorry that the minister decided to resign: "Ott committed a deadly sin" he lambasted

"The top management 'bible' states a rule that in a time of crisis, no matter what is going on in the world, a top manager will stay with their organization. If you can't even get to a crisis meetings, or you quit earlier, then this is a sign you're not physically and mentally present. "

"She played things foolishly, to her detriment: If you are a little incompetent or not a very prominent minister in the government, you shouldn't go to the media to make offensive statements," he said.

Oidsalu said that two things are expected from every minister: money and that if there are concerns, that they are represented in the government.

"Ott did not meet either of the preconditions," he said.

Announcement on new candidate for culture minister expected Wednesday

At the same time, Oidsalu admitted that the minister was very effective in the field of culture in the spring, something which resulted in a crisis injection of €40 million. He also of the cultural system that was launched, through which schoolchildren can go to the theater, a concert or an exhibition with their class.

At the time of writing, Center leader Jüri Ratas is set to present a new candidate for culture minister to the party's board.

ERR reports that Chairman of Tallinn City Council Tiit Terik is the likely candidate, though Ratas has not confirmed this, while Center MPs Aadu Must and Imre Sooäär's names have also been mentioned.

The latter is having to leave the Riigikogu to make way for Anneli Ott - government ministers do not sit in parliament - in any case.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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