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Kallas accuses Pevkur of trying to thwart her candidacy in 2019 elections

Kaja Kallas (left) accused Pevkur (right) in January this year of trying to move her from the Reform Party's Harju district list to a less popular one.
Kaja Kallas (left) accused Pevkur (right) in January this year of trying to move her from the Reform Party's Harju district list to a less popular one. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

Kaja Kallas (Reform/ALDE) told weekly Eesti Ekspress that Reform Party chairman Hanno Pevkur had tried to worsen her chances in the 2019 Riigikogu elections by moving her to the party list of another electoral district.

Ekspress wrote on Wednesday that the relationship of the two Reform top politicians suffered when Pevkur attempted to remove Kallas from her top position on the party list for Harju and Rapla County.

In her comments to the paper, Kallas accused Pevkur of trying to stymie her candidacy in the next parliamentary elections. Pevkur had suggested they find her a spot on a list in Võru County or elsewhere. "But I said I won't budge," Kallas said.

Harju and Rapla County make up Estonia's biggest electoral district, where the parties' front runners stand to gain the most personal votes. They matter, since sufficient voter support gets candidates a personal mandate in parliament. This again means that they won't be affected by any reshuffling of the list by the parties and party members.

No other part of the country elects as many members to the Riigikogu as this district. At 14 mandates to be won, the list of any party that can expect to do well here is extremely popular with candidates, as there is a good chance also for those beyond the top-three positions to actually get elected.

In the past, both Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and his successor, Taavi Rõivas, were able to score very high numbers in this district. According to Kallas, Pevkur wanted the top position on Reform's list in the Harju and Rapla district for himself.

Kaja Kallas is expected to be elected the Reform Party's chairwoman this spring. As such, she would lead the party in the March 2019 Riigikogu elections, and should the Reform Party win the elections also become Estonia's first woman prime minister.

Kallas thus claims the top spot in the biggest district for herself, saying that if the top contenders in her own as well as the Center Party were Hanno Pevkur and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center), Pevkur likely wouldn't manage to differentiate himself enough, and could lose to the competition.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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