Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and 2016 presidential candidate Marina Kaljurand announced on Saturday that she had joined the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and would be running in the 2019 Riigikogu election.
Addressing the party at SDE's general meeting on Saturday, Kaljurand announced that she had already joined the party.
She said that she had been repeatedly invited to join various political parties, but until now was unsure whether politics were her calling.
"I needed time to think, and to figure it out for myself," Kaljulaid explained. "Then I made my decision. I did not do so under pressure or out of pity or politeness; that would have been demeaning and wrong."
The former presidential candidate said that she knew and felt that the time was right. "I believe that I have something to contribute to Estonian politics. I believe that this is right. It would be more honest and courageous of me to say outright that I stand here and want to promote life in Estonia through party democracy because I have an understanding of what Estonia needs."
Kaljulaid admitted that joining a political party was a big change and a big step for her. She said that her decision to join SDE was influenced by a meeting with the SDE parliamentary group that had taken place during her presidential campaign.
"One woman there had been quiet for sometime and just listened," she recalled. "And then she said, 'Everything you are talking about — you are a total Social Democrat.'"
She added that the topics she had discussed, including security and a sense of safety, listening to one another, respecting one another, caring, and helping one another, were topics that would remain important to her.
Kaljurand admitted that politics can be cruel and ruthless, and that politicians currently have a poor reputation. "In order to change that, one must enter the court of politics, not remain a commentator and specator," she said.
Kaljurand: More opportunities as a politician
Speaking in an interview with ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera," Kaljurand said that she has previously worked for years in foreign policy and defence policy, as well as with topics related to integration, women and children. As she is now a politician and not a minister, however, she believed that this will give her much broader opportunities for action.
She also confirmed that she did not join the SDE in order to become Minister of Foreign Affairs or Minister of Defence.
In which electoral district she would be running for the Riigikogu, however, was not yet clear. "I have been a member of the party for such a short amount of time that all of these matters are future matters," Kaljulaid explained.
Editor: Aili Vahtla