Hussar: Gender not the most important factor in determining party chair
Lauri Hussar, the recently elected chair of Eesti 200, has responded to criticism that, as a middle-aged man he is no different from other party leaders, by saying that his team would welcome smart women and men regardless of their skin color, gender or sexual orientation.
TV presenter Reimo Sildvee summed up the opinion being expressed on the weekend's radio talk shows that, given the range of potential leaders available, Eesti 200 had made the wrong choice in electing Hussar.
"An obviously middle-aged man, as gray as the other party chairs. Kristina Kallas would have stood out better as a woman in the male-dominated world of politics," Sildvee said, summing the assessments of leading political commentators including Huko Aaspõllu, Heidit Kaio and others.
Hussar did not respond directly to this assessment, however, he did say that Eesti 200 is a party of both smart women and smart men.
"Both smart women and men are welcome to join my team, regardless of their skin color, gender or sexual orientation," Hussar said.
Hussar added, that he had been to a theater performance over the weekend about Lennart Meri, in which the former president's words about loving Estonia were cited.
"And that's the main thing that decides. Not whether you're a man or a woman," Hussar said.
Speaking about his and Eesti 200's plans, Hussar said there are a number of important shifts to be made.
"For example, in energy. While Lithuania, Latvia and Poland are moving fast when it comes to green energy, we are at a standstill. We need to invest quickly in wind energy development so that, one day, we can become a green electricity exporting country."
Another key issue Hussar highlighted was education. Teachers' salaries are increasing, he said, but not at the same rate as inflation.
"But in terms of the quality of education and the next generation, we see nothing. If we need to, we will borrow in order to develop education."
The third key issue, according to Eesti 200's new leader, is security.
"The war in Ukraine has proved that the current security architecture in Europe is not working. Estonia must take the lead on this. Estonia has been outstanding, but it could show more initiative. /.../ The presence of our allies (in Estonia) should certainly be increased and defense cooperation enhanced. A brigade-sized unit should be brought to Estonia."
Hussar said that Eesti 200 has one clear message, that the party has a long term plan.
"This is also important today, it is not our election slogan, but without a long term plan it is not possible to change the current impasse in state governance."
Hussar also pledged to work every day to ensure the party's good electoral performance is not hampered by financial resources.
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Editor: Michael Cole