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Kaja Kallas: I want to be Estonian PM for four years

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) at a government press conference.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) at a government press conference. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Reform Party chair Kaja Kallas' resignation would change nothing, and she doesn't have her sights set on either the European Parliament or the European Commission, as she wants to remain prime minister long enough to go beyond putting out fires and actually see the results of some difficult decisions, the Estonian head of state said in an interview with weekly Maaleht.

"To be quite honest, I've gotten nothing but bashed for the decisions we have to make in order for things to get better, but I'd like to enjoy the fruits of that labor too," Kallas said in an interview with the paper (link in Estonian) published Tuesday.

"Not that I have to clean up the mess left behind by Jüri Ratas' government and I'm the one who shows up at the party after everyone's been ordered drinks and of course cake as well from communal funds, and then I'm the unpopular one who shuts the party down," she continued. "But when things start getting better, I'd like to be there too."

The Reform chair denied any plans to run for election to the European Parliament in June, and likewise didn't confirm claims that she could become Estonia's next European commissioner.

Asked whether this means that no work in Brussels lies ahead whatsoever, she replied that she can't say that for sure either, as things in politics can change quickly.

"Every day I am absolutely under fire," Kallas said. "I'd like to be prime minister for four years so I can see the results of [these] difficult decisions too, not just be criticized. I took office at the peak of COVID-19, then came the energy war, then a real war, recession... I've never had a single easy moment in this office. In a sense I'd also like to be able to pass out cake to everyone."

The prime minister disagreed with claims that she should resign, and was moreover critical of the media's handling of the so-called eastern transport scandal, i.e. her spouse's business activity in Russia earlier in 2023.

"But what was that in the end?" she asked rhetorically. "There was a slew of assumptions, but I didn't do anything wrong. I understand some Estonian journalists were terribly bent out of shape over the fact that foreign journalists didn't cover the matter. Financial Times, for example, told me that [they] looked into it and saw that there was nothing there."

In recent weeks, Kallas has been subject to more forthright criticism from within her own party. Former longtime prime minister and Reform chair Andrus Ansip has said in several interviews that the substance and manner of the party's policymaking needs to change, and that the party needs to replace Kallas as its leader.

Ansip also called the government's limited support a security risk.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: Maaleht

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