New foreign trade and IT minister: I don't agree with all EKRE's values ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

New IT and foreign trade minister Kaimar Karu (left) with finance minister and EKRE deputy chair Martin Helme at a press conference following his appointment Friday.
New IT and foreign trade minister Kaimar Karu (left) with finance minister and EKRE deputy chair Martin Helme at a press conference following his appointment Friday. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

New Minister for Foreign Trade and IT Kaimar Karu says while he has no immediate plans to join the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) – the party which appointed him to the role – and that he does not agree with all its values, in a free country, people can take a stance on whatever issues they see fit.

Speaking on ETV current affairs show Aktuaalne kaamera, Karu, who was appointed Friday to replace Kert Kingo, who resigned last week, noted that he also had zero experience as a politician, adding that previous roles he'd had in the IT sphere over a 20-year period also had their unexpected aspects.

As an IT specialist, Karu said that transparency and trustworthiness was key in the field of e-elections. EKRE has criticised Estonia's electronic voting system in the past, citing security issues.

I think the electoral system we use in Estonia must be transparent and understandable," Karu told presenter Astrid Kannel.

"If there are issues in society about transparency and clarity or credibility, then this has to be addressed.It is also one of my goals to achieve a situation where the electoral system we use in Estonia is both transparent and credible," he continued.

Karu said that he had no plans to join EKRE yet, adding he did not agree wholly with all the party's values, but nonetheless shared a conservative worldview.

"In principle, I am impressed by [EKRE's] conservative approach.There are certainly more specific points that I would like to talk to in more detail to understand what's behind them. Maybe it's possible, but I can't say that I 100 percent maybe I agree with all of it."

As to the question whether he the ministerial post was simply something to put on the CV, Karu said that he was looking to make a difference, but could not at this stage say whether it was the beginning of a new political career.

"I did not accept the role with the intention that I now dive into politics and remain there for the rest of my life. It's just a political role where I feel I can do some good," he said.

The full interview segment (in Estonian) is here.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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