Social Democrat (SDE) Marina Kaljurand, who earned the most votes of any individual Estonian candidate in the 2019 European Parliament elections, said that the win felt great, but despite the very large mandate she received, she still wasn't interested in chairmanship of the SDE.
"It feels great," Kaljurand said on ETV's election night coverage in the very early hours of Monday morning. "I wasn't a protest candidate. I won't compare myself to [Reform Party candidate] Andrus Ansip, who presented himself as a protest candidate. I want to be a positive candidate. People appreciated what I have accomplished, and I am capable of being a candidate that will not shame the Estonian state."
Kaljurand said that she is still relatively green as a politician, and that her success in the European Parliament elections may have had more to do with recognition stemming from her work in Moscow during the Bronze Night period in 2007 as well as her campaigning across Estonia ahead of her run for president in 2016.
She remained cautious regarding how closely Estonia's six elected MEPs will begin working together going forward.
"Yana Toom has said here that we should form some kind of energy ring," Kaljulaid noted. "We are nonetheless people with different views that belong to different political families. When Toom brings [Estonian author] Kaur Kender to the European Parliament to disparage Estonia, then it is difficult to cooperate."
While she achieved a very solid result in the election, the MEP-elect is nonetheless not interested in running for chairwoman of the SDE in a few weeks.
"I have thought about it, and several party members have proposed that I run for leader of the SDE," Kaljurand said. "But people have to do what they are good at. I have only been a Social Democrat for a year, and I don't have much political capital yet. I can be more useful to the Estonian state and the Social Democrats in the European Parliament."
While the Reform Party was the overall winner of Estonia's European Parliament election, Marina Kaljurand was the most popular individual candidate by a large margin, earning a total of 66,143 votes.
Editor: Aili Vahtla