President Kaljulaid meets with new IT minister nominee

President Kersti Kaljulaid (right) and Kert Kingo of EKRE, at Kadriorg Palace on Tuesday.
President Kersti Kaljulaid (right) and Kert Kingo of EKRE, at Kadriorg Palace on Tuesday. Source: Office of the President of the Republic of Estonia

President Kersti Kaljulaid met with potential new Foreign Trade and IT Minister Kert Kingo (EKRE) on Tuesday, at Kadriorg Palace.

Kingo was nominated by her party at the beginning of the week, following over a week's search for a replacement candidate for Marti Kuusik, who stepped down from the role a day after the swearing-in ceremony at the Riigikogu, in the wake of domestic violence allegations.

President Kaljulaid chose to absent herself from the chamber when Kuusik came up to take (actually sign) his oath of office; allegations of domestic violence on his part had emerged in the media in the days leading up to the ceremony.

Despite some reservations about taking up the role, according to EKRE leader Mart Helme, Kingo attended the meeting with President Kaljulaid, and took tea with her, generally taken as a sign of tacit approval of a potential minister's candidacy.

During the coalition negotiations which ran between the March 3 general election and the entry into office of the Centre/EKRE/Isamaa coalition in late April, representatives of all elected parties took the trip to Kadriorg in the same way.

President Kaljulaid first nominated Reform Party leader Kaja Kallas as prime ministerial candidate; Reform entered into an agreement with the Social Democratic Party (SDE), for a total of 44 Riigikogu seats. It was only after this lineup was rejected by parliament that she then nominated Centre leader Jüri Ratas, whose coalition alliance subsequently passed at the Riigikogu.

If a minister resigns their post while in office, their party generally nominates a replacement from its ranks. Calls for Kuusik's replacement to be a woman had come from some quarters, including from Estonia 200's Liina Noormet. EKRE has three woman MPs from its current 19 at the Riigikogu.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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