Former Eesti 200 leader and current Minister of Education Kristina Kallas says she has not yet decided whether to run for the role of party chair after Lauri Hussar stepped down. Kallas told ERR, that whoever does step into Hussar's shoes ought to be a member of the government, in order to implement Eesti 200's plans more effectively.
Kallas said she had not yet decided whether or not to run for the newly-vacated party chair position at Eesti 200's general assembly on November 19.
"At the moment, I have very big challenges in the ministry, both with the transition to Estonian-language education and the salary negotiations for teachers. I need to think seriously about this. I feel that doing the two things together at the moment would be detrimental to both," she said.
"I do have support in the party and have been approached a lot in the party and asked to give it serious consideration . But for now, when this decision really requires a lot of commitment, I have to think it through properly for myself," Kallas added.
On Monday, at a meeting of the party's executive board, Lauri Hussar announced his wish to step down as party chair and devote himself to the role of Riigikogu speaker. According to Kallas, the decision did not come completely out of the blue, as Hussar has been hinting at it for some time.
"It is not just a thought he's had in the moment, that he would not be able to run the party and the Riigikogu at the same time. However, the timing was surprising. I, for one, did not expect it now," Kallas said.
As Eesti 200's regular general assembly, in which the party's new leadership and leader are elected, is not scheduled until 2024r, the chair chosen now is likely to be in office for a year. According to Kallas, the party needs a leader who can devote significantly more time than Hussar had, to developing its organization and preparing for the European elections.
"In the current situation, we can see that we need a person with a much greater time commitment. We are still a young organization and there is a lot of rebuilding to be done. In the case of the old political parties, the chair tends to do the routine work of running the party. However, we need someone who can commit quite a lot of time to running the party. I don't rule out the possibility of combining being a minister and party chair, but it would be very difficult," Kallas said.
At the same time, it would be important for the new chair to be a member of the government, she added.
"In fact, that is quite important. The party has to stand up strongly for its positions in the government. There, it is important that the chair, who is in the government, is able to implement their party's plans in the government. I think it is important that they are a member of the government, but there are other options. However, the preferred option is to be a member of the government," Kallas said.
Last October, Hussar was voted in as Eesti 200's party chair ahead of Kallas.
Editor: Michael Cole