Kristina Kallas: Our goal is a progressive, liberal and open government

Kristina Kallas.
Kristina Kallas. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Head of the non-parliamentary Eesti 200 Kristina Kallas does not consider the party's summer ratings slump a problem and says Eesti 200 is still making efforts to give Estonia a progressive, liberal and open government after the March elections.

"A rating of 13 percent is excellent for a non-parliamentary force," Kallas said when asked why support for her party has come down from 21 percent in April to 13 percent in July in the Kantar Emor poll.

She said that party ratings are not affected as much by what Eesti 200 does compared to what other parties do and the domestic and foreign political situation in general.

"Ratings reflect a proportion of the whole thing. We were actively working on our elections platform in spring and completed it by Midsummer. We have taken a breather and will start gearing up for the elections in August."

Asked whether Eesti 200's rating suffered as a result of the Center Party, EKRE and Isamaa failing to resurrect their coalition, Kallas said it is possible Estonia will still see it after the [March] elections.

"Right now, our focus is on putting in enough of a result in March to make sure Estonia gets a progressive, liberal and open government."

Commenting on Isamaa's rise in the polls, Kallas said the party was well-served by moving from the opposition to the government.

"They have gotten the chance to showcase their political views through their ministers and appear on "Aktuaalne kaamera" nightly, figuratively speaking. Unlike the Social Democrats, Isamaa managed to adopt a more forceful position at talks and communicate its positions."

The head of Eesti 200 said that while great expectations are tangible in the case of the new government, these need to be populated with action.

Kallas did not agree that the removal of Soviet monuments and the switch to universal Estonian education could polarize society to a notable degree.

"Russia's aggression against Ukraine has changed the attitudes of the local Russian community. There is also no great opposition to the idea that a school reform is in order. As concerns Soviet monuments, the tank in Narva is the only one sparking major differences."

The party leader said that it is the right time to remove the Tank-T34 monument as the situation is favorable. It is another matter whether this should be done by force or following some sort of an agreement with Narva residents.

"I believe it (removal of the Narva and other Soviet monuments - ed.) cannot be left half-done. And as concerns switching Russian schools to teaching in Estonian, it is only half the solution. As long as the kids study in separate schools, the language switch alone is not enough," Kallas said.

She added that even if subjects are taught in Estonian but children attend different schools and there is little social contact between Estonian and Russian-speaking parts of the population, the reform does not go far enough.

Riigikogu elections will be held on March 5, 2023, or in little over seven months.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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