Estonia 200 in no hurry to introduce party's top candidates

Chairwoman Kristina Kallas at the general meeting formally establishing Estonia 200 as a political party. November 2018.
Chairwoman Kristina Kallas at the general meeting formally establishing Estonia 200 as a political party. November 2018. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Estonia 200 chairwoman Kristina Kallas said on Thursday that now is not the right time for the new party to introduce its top candidates, as media consumption hits a slump during the Christmas holidays anyway.

Discussing the results of party ratings published on Thursday, sociologist Juhan Kivirähk said on a live ERR online broadcast that it is high time that the nascent Estonia 200 starts introducing its candidates ahead of the 2019 Riigikogu elections next March.

"Estonia 200 is introducing its top candidates really way too late if they include unknown individuals," Kivirähk said. "If they find '[Urmas] Sukleses,' then why not? But those names that don't really say anything to voters right now? Those should be very emphatically introduced already."

Ms Kallas, however, doesn't understand why it's now suddenly high time to be doing this.

"I don't understand why it's high time — people are about to set off for their Christmas holidays," the party chairwoman told ERR. "Is now the time to start introducing people? Because I believe that media consumption will start dropping in the middle of next week; people are going to start dealing with other things. We are doing things at our own pace, at exactly the pace at which we do them."

Ms Kallas noted, however, that the party's election lists would be finalised in early January.

Kallas: Up to Sukles whether he joins

Ms Kallas met on Monday with former Reform Party member and Haapsalu mayor Urmas Sukles, whom she invited to join the party.

"We went to Lääne County to meet with various people, and Urmas Sukles was one of them," she said. "Our main discussion with him wasn't even so much that he would run [in the elections]. We met with him as mayor to discuss those items currently being drawn up in our election programme that are related to obligations between local governments and the state, such as the social protection system and the education network. Since we were already meeting with him, we discussed a lot of different things."

According to Ms Kallas, they also asked Sukles about other active individuals in Lääne County, as he would know them.

"Because this is someone who has the courage to make changes and who has the courage to lead, then of course I would be pleased if he joined us, but that is still Urmas Sukles' decision to make," she added.

Mr Sukles told ERR, however, that he was not interested in running for the Riigikogu.

"I am not running, and I am not considering running anywhere," he said.

Regarding Estonia 200's most recent party rating, Ms Kallas said that it could only get better. "Estonia 200's rating is very good," she said. "To be near 8% already for the second month in a row is very positive. I believe that we only have the potential to go up from there."


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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