Designated public administration minister's candidacy just an adventure?

Ainar Ruussaar and Anvar Samost.
Ainar Ruussaar and Anvar Samost. Source: ERR/Vikerraadio

Editor-in-chief of ERR's news, Anvar Samost, commented in his radio talk show with Ainar Ruussaar on Sunday that it isn't quite clear to him yet whether the designated next minister of public administration, Janek Mäggi, is out for an 11-month adventure or a longer perspective in politics. In early March 2019, the Estonian voters will elect a new parliament, and with it the composition of the government will likely change as well.

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) has nominated businessman and PR expert Janek Mäggi to be his next minister of public administration. Only the most recent change of the ministerial line-up of a government that has been plagued by staffing issues since its beginnings in late 2016, Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center) announced his resignation last month: he had been caught speeding and driving under the influence.

Mäggi meanwhile has announced that he intends to join the Center Party, and to run in next year's Riigikogu elections as well.

"I don't quite understand whether this ministerial position for the remaining 11 months until the next government takes office is a one-time adventure, or if he has a longer plan," Samost said. "As far as I know, his PR business is going pretty well. And that's mainly connected with his own person, and probably couldn't successfully continue without him."

Samost also pointed out that though Mäggi announced he would join the prime minister's party and also run in next year's elections, he said on ERR's "Aktuaalne kaamera" newscast that this had been prompted by Reform Party MP Kristen Michal's criticism that he doesn't have a popular mandate.

Writing on social media, Michal criticized that Mäggi isn't a member of the Riigikogu, and that with his appointment and confirmation the new minister of public administration wouldn't have a popular mandate. Mäggi countered this by announcing that he will run in next year's elections, though he wouldn't be doing any work in the Riigikogu until then.

Such a statement didn't really hint at an existing long-term plan to enter and remain in politics, Samost said. Also, as soon as Mäggi joined the Center Party, his PR business would likely suffer.

Discussing the potential new minister with Samost was Ainar Ruussaar, former member of ERR's management and recent addition to private media group Eesti Meedia's correspondents. Ruussaar disagreed with Samost.

"We're talking about a former vice president of a bank, when he was still quite young, a journalist, a person who has presented and edited TV programs, who has been pretty successful in business and still is," Ruussaar said. Someone with Mäggi's background and at his stage in life likely isn't up for adventures anymore, he added.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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