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Kallas becomes Estonia’s first female PM as new government takes oath

Kaja Kallas of the centre-right Reform party took oath as Estonia’s first female prime minister on Tuesday (January 26) after being officially nominated by the country’s President Kersti Kaljulaid.

“First of all, we (will) try to build up our relations with our allies, our neighbours again,” Kallas told Reuters after taking oath in Tallinn adding that her new government supports liberal values.

Taking over after the previous government resigned in a corruption scandal, the 43-year-old has refused to keep the far-right EKRE in her cabinet.

“We will try to restore our name as a good country to invest in,” Kallas said.

Her government has pledged not to define marriage strictly as a union between a man and a woman, which was a signature policy of the far right.

In another shift, she has promised to bar any further investment in the fossil fuel industry in the European Union country of 1.3 million.

As a symbol of renewal, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid chose to bestow her formal approval on the government at sunrise in Tallinn, at 8.44 A.M. on Tuesday morning.

The former ruling centre-left Centre party remains in the government as Reform’s partner, despite corruption charges filed by prosecutors who allege the party’s general secretary agreed to a donation of up to 1 million euros (1.2 million dollars) from a businessman in exchange for a permit to build on public land.

The new cabinet is formed of six women and eight men with both coalition partners holding seven ministerial portfolios.

(Production: Janis Laizans, Karolina Bohacova)


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