Estonia's First Ever Female President Takes Office
11 October, 2016


What You Need To Know:

✅ Estonia’s first-ever female president Kersti Kaljulaid took the oath of office during a ceremony in parliament on October 10;

✅ She replaces US-educated Toomas Hendrik Ilves, widely praised for helping to promote Estonian technology and innovation globally;

✅ The 46-year-old newly appointed leader is an EU Court of Auditors member, former political advisor to the prime minister and businesswoman; 

✅ The presidential role in the Baltic state is largely symbolic. 

Kersti Kaljulaid is settling into her new presidential dwellings in Estonia's picturesque capital Tallinn. The 46-year-old relatively unknown political figure has been propelled to the seat of power after a parliamentary vote on October 3. She replaces Toomas Hendrik Ilves, a head of state renowned for his outspoken criticism of Russia and foreign policy efforts to place the small Baltic state firmly on the European map. 

On October 10, Kaljulaid took the oath of office. In her speech in parliament, the new president recalled memories of Estonia's Independence 25 years ago, before touching upon issues linked to education, healthcare and security issues. 

Kaljulaid takes on the largely symbolic role for at least the next five years; but what can Estonians expect? According to Tallinn University Lecturer Katja Koort, the new president is likely to continue along a similar foreign policy as her predecessor.  

"She also mentioned that she will be following the example President Ilves has set in the sphere of international affairs", Ms. Koort told Hromadske.

"It's clear she'll be keeping the same strong ties with our allies, with the EU and NATO and Estonian strategy towards Russia will definitely be coordinated with our allies"

Ms. Koort also delved deeper into the past career of the new president, a European Court of Auditors member and a former policy advisor to Estonia's prime minister.

"'She's not a member of any political party which could be one of the strongest arguments why she was elected to be president. But she used to be a member of a right-wing party called Pro Patria and Res Publica - but after starting work in the new structures, she ended her membership; so ideologically, she probably supports right-wing ideas."

Tallinn Univeristy Lecturer Katja Koort spoke with Hromadske International journalist Josh Kovensky via Skype on October 9.