Former interior minister leaves Center Party, seeks new, senior role

Kristian Jaani.
Kristian Jaani. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Former interior minister Kristian Jaani says he is leaving politics and is quitting the Center Party, in order to pursue a continuation of his career in internal security.

Reflecting on his appointment as interior minister in January 2021, Jaani said: "Over a year ago, when Jüri [Ratas] called me with a very concrete offer as a minister, while we also talked about whether it would be possible to succeed in politics later, and I also took that step," referring to joining the Center Party, which he did in June after being appointed. he had until then worked as chief of the Police and Border Guard Board's (PPA) northern prefecture.

"However, my heart is still on internal security," Jaani, who was one of seven Center Party ministers who Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) dismissed almost three weeks ago, went on.

"As a minister, I have had unparalleled experience in contributing to an area that is so close to my heart. In different crises, I have seen the area of ​​internal security from different angles. This has been both a great challenge and an opportunity," Jaani continued.

A Center Party spokesperson also noted Jaani's desire to return to direct and active work in the field of internal security.

Since individuals holding senior posts with the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) or other internal security authorities may not belong to a member of a political party, he has left the Center Party, Jaani added, noting that in Estonia's northern neighbor, Finland, police chiefs may serve as MPs, though their employment as such must be suspended during that time, he said.

Center Party leader and Riigikogu speaker Jüri Ratas thanked Jaani for his time in the cabinet.

Ratas said: "Kristian Jaani stood up strongly for his field, not only fighting against cuts in the administration of the ministry, but also being able to put in place the necessary salary increases for police officers and rescuers, also referencing the construction of the eastern border and the development of civil defense as high points.

Jaani said that he does not have a confirmed post yet, adding that the competitive processes for the heads of state agencies are down to the incumbent government.

Kristian Jaani was one of four former Center ministers who had not come from the Riigikogu. The others were Tanel Kiik, who had been Ratas' chef de cabinet,, Eva-Maria Liimets, who was Estonia's ambassador to the Czech Republic until being appointed foreign minister, and Tiit Terik, who was made culture minister in November 2021, replacing Anneli Ott (Terik had been a Center MP in the XIII Riigikogu, which ended with the March 2019 general election).


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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