43-Year-Old Becomes Estonia’s First Female Prime Minister

A first for Estonia with the first female Prime Minister

Kaja Kallas becomes Estonia's first female PM as new coalition government sworn in

Kaja Kallas of the centre-right Reform party became Estonia's first female prime minister on Monday after parliament approved her nomination following predecessor Juri Ratas' resignation over an inquiry into a property development.

Both parties are set to have seven ministerial portfolios in addition to Kallas' prime minister post in the 15-member government, which would muster a majority at the 101-seat Riigikogu Parliament.

Speaking to parliament as the small Baltic eurozone state struggles with the Covid-19 pandemic, Kallas vowed "to keep Estonia as open as possible, so that people could go to work, and children to school, and the economic activity could continue". His Center Party will still rule, but without Ratas in the cabinet and with Kallas from the Reform Party as the new prime minister.

The Cabinet will be formed of six women and eight men, including Eva-Maria Liimets as foreign minister, Kalle Laanet as defence minister, Keit Pentus-Rosimannus as finance minister and Andres Sutt as foreign trade and technology minister.

Kallas' Cabinet has a little over two years to leave its mark in this European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member before the next general election set for March 2023.

Earlier this month, President Kersti Kaljulaid, who is expected to appoint Kallas' Cabinet in the next few days, said tackling Estonia's worsening coronavirus situation and the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic should be an immediate priority for the new government.

The far-right EKRE party which had been in coalition with Ratas is now out of government.

Kallas, of the Reform Party, is to lead a coalition with Ratas' left-oriented Centre party.

But Ratas' government, which took office in April 2019, was shaky from the start due to strong rhetoric from the nationalist EKRE, the nation's third-largest party which runs on an anti-immigration and anti-EU agenda. The EKRE leaders, Mart Helme and his son Martin, brought the government to the brink of collapse at least twice.

Kallas also introduced to Marin the plans of the new Estonian government and key goals in the coalition agreement.

The 43-year-old will be shouldered with the grand responsibility of being head of state and thinking about the well-being of approximately 1.3 million people who gained the status of being an independent and free territory during the fall of the once-mighty and powerful Soviet Russia.

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