Kaja Kallas: People have spoken with me about running for Reform chair

MEP Kaja Kallas (Reform/ALDE) at the Estonian presidential elections in fall 2016. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

MEP Kaja Kallas (Reform/ALDE), who plans on returning to Estonian politics, confirmed to ERR that various people, including Kristen Michal, have spoken with her about potentially running for chairwoman of the Reform Party.

 "It is too early to talk about running for party chair, as we don't currently have elections coming up," Kallas told ERR. "I will admit, however, that various people, including Kristen Michal, have spoken with me about running. But that has been said pretty much every time we have had elections."

According to the MEP, she fully intends to run in the next Riigikogu elections, after which she is prepared to be involved in the work of the government, should she be elected.

"I intend to run in the next Riigikogu elections in 2019 and return to Estonia," Kallas said. "Should I be elected, I would be happy to be involved in the work of the government as well. In this case, I would not run in the European Parliament elections, although I have to admit that I really enjoy my work here."

Daily Postimees reported on Wednesday that in-fighting in Estonia's largest opposition party continues between party chairman Hanno Pevkur and Kristen Michal, who had run against Pevkur for the party's top spot. According to the paper's information, Michal has come to terms with the fact that he would not be elected chairman of the party, but he would like to see Kaja Kallas replace Pevkur as head of the party.

Michal denies discussing matter with Kallas

In an interview with ERR's online news portal on Wednesday, however, Michal claimed that he has not discussed Kaja Kallas being elected the next chairwoman of the party with either Kallas herself or her father and fellow party member Siim Kallas.

"Chairman elections are not going on, so what is there to discuss?" Michal asked rhetorically.

Hanno Pevkur was elected chairman of the Reform Party on Jan. 7, 2017. The party chairman's mandate lasts two years, which means that the next party elections, including for the party's leadership, should take place in January 2019, two months prior to the next Riigikogu elections. Reform Party Secretary Tõnis Kõiv confirmed the same to ERR: "Party statutes state that the term of office of the party chairman is two years, and if this time is up in January, so it is."

Kaja Kallas is an Estonian MEP and deputy chairwoman of the Reform Party. She joined the party in 2010, and in the 2011 Riigikogu elections received a personal mandate in Harju and Rapla Counties with 7,157 votes. In th 2014 European Parliament elections, Kallas was elected with 21,504 votes. She is a member of the European Parliament's Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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