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Tsahnka: If you seek praise, go work in the circus rather than in politics

Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200).
Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Politics is no place for those simply after fawning praise and plaudits, Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200) says. Meanwhile Social Democrats (SDE) leader Lauri Läänemets said policies and principles should trump personalities.

Minister Tsahkna, who is also Eesti 200 chair, made his remarks in the context of Prime Minister Kaja Kallas' (Reform) recent statement, that she wants to remain in office through to the next election in four years' time, and relishes the challenge of dealing with the current crises, plus getting to see the difficult decisions she and her government have made bear fruit.

Speaking to Vikerraadio's "Reporteritund" on Thursday, Tsahkna said: "Going into politics with the idea of ​​receiving praise means you're in the wrong place.

"If this is the case, you should go work in the circus or somewhere on the variety show circuit; here, you can get praise, assuming you are skilled."

For politicians, the only realistic time for being eulogized is exactly at that time – post mortem, Tsahkna went on.

"Unfortunately, I have been to the funerals of quite a few politicians, and at that point everyone, including their political rivals, talks about how great of a statesmen or women they were," Tsahkna said.

"Sadly this goes with the job. If you enter into politics expecting to get praise, you will definitely be disappointed."

Both Tsahkna and Social Democrats (SDE) chair Lauri Läänemets, in office with Reform and Eesti 200, say their party's actions within the coalition do not hinge on who is head of that coalition.

It is difficult for both himself and Läänemets to comment on whether Kallas will continue in office as prime minister, or wants to return to the European Parliament, or become Estonia's next European commissioner, Tsahkna went on.

This remains a question for the Reform Party alone, he said.

Lauri Läänemets, who is also interior minister, also appeared on "Reporteritund."

"It is true that we also spoke with the prime minister about this issue, this morning. She confirmed that her plan is such that she is not going to go anywhere right now, and intends to remain the prime minister," Läänemets said.

"SDE's mission in Estonia and within the government does not depend on whether the prime minister's name this, that or the other; SDE are in this government in order to provide balance to the two right-wing parties," he went on, referring primarily to Reform and Eesti 200's economic platforms.

"I we were to make decisions simply based on the logic of personalities, I think we would be doing a great disservice both to our voters and to Estonian society," he continued.

In short, this meant not becoming too influenced by personalities alone.

This does not mean that the prime minister does not have any personal input into the course of how a government is performing, Läänemets stressed.

Lauri Läänemets (SDE). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

"But I think it would be an even greater sin to lay the cards on the table today and say that one or another individual is not suitable for us, and that SDE has pledged to stand for the increase of people's wages, for the development of rural areas, for the improvement of public transport, but on this we will not engage more, simply due to this one individual. That would be a very petty state of affairs," the SDE leader continued.

Tsahkna concurred on this, too.

"The big issue is, why did Eesti 200 and SDE get a mandate? For the major reforms that we have agreed upon and which are underway," he said.

" Provided we can do these things, provided the government is up to the task of assessing the economic cycle and the crisis we are in, we will be able to make probably unpopular decisions, for as long as Eesti 200 is in this government," he went on, adding that that was the case whether the prime minister's name was Kaja Kallas, or another name.

Speaking to agricultural weekly Maaleht earlier in the week, the prime minister said: "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,."

"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 ordered their drinks, and of course cake as well ,from the communal funds, yet I'm the unpopular one who declares the party over," Kallas went on, saying: "When things start getting better, I'd like to be there too, however."

Kallas has been facing strong criticism from former prime minister and current MEP Andrus Ansip, who says that a new Reform leader, and thus new head of government, should be chosen, as a matter of national security.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael

Source: 'Reporteritund,' interviewer Mirko Ojakivi.

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