Kert Valdaru named as Kallas' pick for new Reform secretary general

Kaja Kallas and Kert Valdaru.
Kaja Kallas and Kert Valdaru. Source: Sander Koit/ERR, Ministry of Social Affairs

Kaja Kallas confirmed to ERR on Sunday evening that she will be recommending Kert Valdaru for the position of secretary general of the Reform party, and intends to introduce him to the party's parliamentary group on Monday already.

Valdaru must be approved by the Reform Party board, and according to Kallas, it would make sense for this approval to come from the new board to be elected in April. In other words, Valdaru will be confirmed for the position after the party's new leadership is elected next month.

Kallas noted that her chosen candidate couldn't begin work right away anyway, as Valdaru will first have to tie up any loose ends at his current job first.

"On Friday we terminated our contract with the party's secretary general, and immediately the question came up regarding who would be the next one, Kallas wrote in a letter to her fellow Reform Party members. "While I already have an agreement in place with the potential candidate, I hope you understand why I couldn't reveal his name until he had gotten a chance to speak with his family and current employer, per his request."

"I am glad that I have found someone who is willing to take on the complex mission of Reform Party secretary general," Kallas said on Sunday. "This person is fellow party member Kert Valdaru, who is currently director of Astangu Vocational Rehabilitation Centre, but previously also worked in leading positions at the Ministry of the Interior and the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences."

According to Kallas, they have known each other since their time at the University of Tartu, where Valdaru majored in political science and social policy. "In recent years, we have frequently discussed migration-related topics, on which he can be considered an expert," she noted. "He has also been among those who have compiled our [party] program and voting platform. I am glad that such a passionate person is willing to join our team. I hope that the new party board will support his candidacy as well."

Valdaru has previously worked as a state official, focused primarily on immigration policy. He later also worked as director of a continuing education center and a migration expert at the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences.

He has served as director of Astangu Vocational Rehabilitation Centre since April 2017.

According to the Commercial Register, Valdaru is a member of the Reform Party as of February 2014.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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