Center Party leader and Riigikogu speaker Jüri Ratas is swapping politics for the light fantastic, to take part in the new season of the rebooted 'Tantsud tähtedega' ('Dancing with the Stars') on TV3 this autumn. Ratas will be raising money for cancer research during the competition.
Based on the highly popular U.K. show "Strictly Come Dancing", "Tantsud tähtedega" originally was originally broadcast by Kanal2, but has been off-air for over a decade.
Signe Suur, CEO of TV3 Grupp Eesti, said that it was: "A pleasure to announced that the highly-respected, top politician Jüri Ratas has accepted the challenge of taking part in the show, and all for charity."
"This is a meaningful start [to the season], and indicates that dance stars who follow him will also be getting special recognition and attention, supporting with their charisma and contributions the Estonian cancer society (Eesti Vähiliit) campaign, and bringing a cheerful and emotional season of 'Tantsud tähtedega' to the viewers," Suur went on.
Ratas said of his participation that: "The wheeled CT scanner to be purchased for the Estonian cancer society with the support of the show, will make it possible to carry out lung cancer screening, as well as other tests prescribed by specialists, close to a patient's place of residence - even away from the big cities and larger medical centers."
"All of us have lost a loved one, an acquaintance or a friend to this disease… as has my family. If I can contribute to the prevention and early detection of such diseases, I always try to do so," he went on, noting that around 4,000 people die as a result of malignant tumors in Estonia each year.
Ratas now has a month-and-a-half to prepare and learn the basic steps and first routines.
In a format familiar to most readers from equivalent shows the franchise – broadcast in over 50 countries, Ratas will be paired with a top professional dancer and compete against other pairs, with one pair having to leave the show each episode, from the second installment, on the basis of both a jury decision and popular vote.
Between 2006 and 2011 the show was broadcast by Kanal2, with famous participants including former olympic decathlete Erki Nool, politician Vilja Toomast, former interior minister Andres Anvelt and singer Dave Benton being among those who took part during that time.
Editor: Andrew Whyte