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President and prime minister top daily list of 2018 influential people

Features and opinion pieces pages from Eesti Päevaleht (picture is illustrative).
Features and opinion pieces pages from Eesti Päevaleht (picture is illustrative). Source: ERR

Daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL) has place Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) and President Kersti Kaljulaid in the first and second places of its list of the most influential persons in Estonia for 2018.

''As this time last year, he is prime minister,'' the newspaper commented on Mr Ratas selection for the top spot.

''He is master of his party even more so than this time last year,'' the newspaper continued, in the aftermath of a recent governmental split which Mr Ratas was able to ride out.

Centre resurgent under Mr Ratas

''The leaders of the coalition partners have weakened significantly over the year, but Mr Ratas and the Centre Party remain in good shape. Whilst in several critical situations Mr Ratas has taken something of a back seat instead of leading from the front, he has nevertheless become the most well-supported prime ministerial candidate in the upcoming elections," the article stated.

Figures from the most recent opinion polls ratings support this claim. One third of respondents in a recent Turu-uuringute survey said they would vote for Centre in an imminent election, whereas the figure for the next biggest party, Reform, stood at a bit over one quarter. A month before, the parties had been neck-and-neck.

President Kersti Kaljulaid was second on the list. The President has been keeping busy in recent months both at home and away, including more than one visit to the UN in bolstering Estonia's chances for a UN security council spot, and places as far afield as Australia and New Zealand, as well as effective domestic public relations exercises in Narva and other towns.

Other fugures on 2018 list

Margus Linnamäe, a businessman with interests in pharmaceuticals, real estate and the media, lies in third. His media interests include Eesti Media, a media group including long-established daily Postimees, and the Baltic News Service, the largest news agency in the Baltic states, founded in Estonia in 1990 both as a result of and contributing too a liberalisation of Estonia's position within the former Soviet Union following the Glasnost' and Perestroika reforms, and eventual full independence of the country in 1991.

Eesti Päevaleht is part of the Ekspress Media group which also publishes weeklies Maaleht and Eesti Ekspress, headed up by Hans H. Luik. A paper of the same name is also published weekly in Stockholm, Sweden.

The next places in EPL's list of influential figures for 2018 were taken by Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) leader Mart Helme, his son Mart, also an EKRE MP, and rally driver Ott Tanak, who finished 3rd in this year's WRC championship having won four races in the calendar.

Others high up on the list include composer Arvo Pärt, businessmen Enn Pant and Ain Hanschmidt, and politicians Kadri Simson (Centre), Kaja Kallas (Reform) and her father, former prime minister and current Viimsi Mayor, Siim Kallas.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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