Kersti Kaljulaid (Estonian pronunciation: [ˈkers.ti ˈkɑl.juˈlɑi̯d]; born 30 December 1969) is an Estonian politician who is the fifth and current President of Estonia, in office since 10 October 2016. She is the first female head of state of Estonia since the country declared independence in 1918, as well as the youngest President, age 46 at the time of her election.
|5th President of Estonia|
|Assumed office |
10 October 2016
|Prime Minister||Taavi Rõivas|
|Preceded by||Toomas Hendrik Ilves|
|Born||30 December 1969|
|Political party||Pro Patria Union (2001–2004)|
|Relatives||Raimond Kaljulaid (half-brother)|
|Alma mater||University of Tartu|
Kaljulaid is a former state official, serving as Estonia's representative in the European Court of Auditors from 2004 until 2016. After several unsuccessful rounds of Estonian presidential elections in 2016, Kaljulaid was nominated on 30 September 2016 by the majority of parliamentary parties as a joint candidate for President of Estonia, as the only official candidate for that round. Kaljulaid was voted President of Estonia on 3 October 2016, with 81 votes and 17 abstentions.
Early life and education
In 1987, Kaljulaid graduated from Tallinn Secondary School no. 44. During her studies there, she was a member of the Students' Scientific Association, specializing in ornithology. In 1992, she graduated from University of Tartu cum laude as a biologist. She is a member of Estonian female student corporation, Filiae Patriae. In 2001, she graduated from the University of Tartu with an MBA in business management. Her thesis was titled as "Riigi poolt asutatud sihtasutuste juhtimissüsteemi täiustamine" or "The improvement of the management system of state-founded foundations" in English.
From 1996 to 1997 Kaljulaid was a sales manager in state-owned telecom Eesti Telefon and from 1997 to 1998 a project manager in Hoiupanga Investeeringute AS. From 1998 to 1999 she was employed in Hansabank's investment banking division Hansabank Markets. From 1999 to 2002, Kaljulaid worked as the economic advisor of Estonian Prime Minister Mart Laar. From 2002 to 2004, she was the director of Iru Power Plant, a subsidiary of the state-owned energy company Eesti Energia. She was the first woman to lead a power plant in Estonia.
In 2004, when Estonia joined the European Union, Kaljulaid was appointed the country's representative at the European Court of Auditors. Since 2011, Kaljulaid has been the chairperson of the board of the University of Tartu.
Kaljulaid has defined herself as a liberal conservative. She has spoken in support of strong civil society with less state interference, whilst placing high importance on helping those in need. She holds liberal views on social issues such as LGBT rights and immigration. She has often published opinion pieces in Estonian media, considering the position of Estonia in the European Union and on social and economical matters. Additionally, she has been a regular participant in political analysis programmes of Radio Kuku, e.g. "Keskpäevatund".
As Kaljulaid's term as a member of the European Court of Auditors was due to end on 7 May 2016, she was confirmed as the next head of PRAXIS Center for Policy Studies in November 2015. Although the Estonian government should have proposed her replacement in the court by 7 February 2016, it still had not managed to do so by the end of her term, so she remained in the position.
After several failed rounds in the Estonian presidential elections in August through September 2016, a so-called "council of elders" of the Riigikogu, which included the representatives of all parliamentary parties, the speaker and vice-speakers, asked for Kaljulaid's consent and then proposed her as the only potential presidential candidate to be put before the members of the Riigikogu on 3 October 2016. Her candidacy was officially registered on 30 September. Riigikogu Speaker Eiki Nestor said that Kaljulaid undoubtedly had the required 68 votes from the 101-member Riigikogu, but the exact number remained to be seen. Ultimately her candidacy was supported by 90 Riigikogu MPs. She won the elections by 81 votes with 17 abstainers and no votes against her, while the only parliamentary party that had publicly declared not to support her was EKRE which had only 7 votes.
The main objection raised repeatedly during her candidacy by media as well as politicians and street polls was her being relatively unknown, compared to the candidates that had participated in the campaign. She confronted the objection in her public letter and during several interviews by promising to become visible across the country, visiting different areas and talking to the people directly. In mid-October 2016, the first conducted survey showed Kaljulaid's approval rating at 73%.
In 2020, the Estonian government nominated Kaljulaid as its candidate to succeed Angel Gurría in the position of Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for a five-year term. In January 2021, Kaljulaid announced that she had withdrawn her candidacy, citing consultations that led her to believe that accepting the position at the end of her first term as president amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in Estonia would "not be the best solution." She had just advanced to the second round of the interview process.
On 21 January 2021, the opposition Social Democratic Party announced that they would support Kaljulaid should she run for a second term in the 2021 Estonian presidential election. If she is proposed by the incumbent government as their presidential candidate in the election, this would give her enough votes to be elected by the Riigikogu. The government has not yet indicated if they will support Kaljulaid for a second term.
In 2017, Kaljulaid became the first Estonian to be featured in the Forbes magazine's list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women, placed at 78th, and came twenty second among the most influential female political leaders.
Kaljulaid has a daughter and a son from her first marriage. She is also a grandmother of three. Kaljulaid's second husband is Georgi-Rene Maksimovski; they have two sons. Kaljulaid's half-brother, Estonian Social Democratic Party politician Raimond Kaljulaid, served as the Elder of Põhja-Tallinn district from 2016 to 2019, and was later elected to the Riigikogu in 2019.
- Grand Star of the Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria (26 May 2021)
- Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of the White Rose, Finland (7 March 2017)
- Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, Italy (5 June 2018)
- Commander Grand Cross with Chain of the Order of the Three Stars, Latvia (8 April 2019)
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion, Netherlands (12 June 2018)
- Grand Collar of the Order of Prince Henry, Portugal (16 April 2019)
- Recipient of the Order for Exceptional Merits, Slovenia (2 September 2019)
- In 2009, European Movement Estonia awarded Kaljulaid with the European of the Year title.
- In 2014, the Open Estonia Foundation awarded her the Award of Unity for her analyses and comments explaining the function of European Union for Estonian audiences.
- In 2020, the Estonian LGBT Association awarded her the Rainbow Hero Award (vikerkaarekangelase auhind), for her public support of the gay community in Estonia.
- List of official overseas trips made by Kersti Kaljulaid
- 2016 Estonian presidential election
- Raimond Kaljulaid
- Former European auditor Kersti Kaljulaid elected president of Estonia Estonian World, 2 October 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
- Kes on Kersti Kaljulaid? Archived 1 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine Postimees, 27 September 2016 (in Estonian). Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- Kersti Kaljulaid sai 81 häälega uueks Eesti presidendiks ERR, 3 October 2016 (in Estonian). Retrieved 3 October 2016
- "Estonia's parliament elects country's first female president". Reuters. 3 October 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
- Tallinna Mustamäe Gümnaasiumi vilistlased (in Estonian). Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- Kaljulaid, K. (1986) Vainurästa (Turdus ilacius) pesitsusbioloogiast Eestis. In: Eesti NSV Õpilaste Teadusliku Ühingu VI teaduskonverentsi teesid, Tallinn, p. 24 (in Estonian)
- Kersti Kaljulaid – elu Euroopas, kodu Eestis Archived 3 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Postimees, 7 May 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- Kersti Kaljulaid. "The improvement of the management system of state-founded foundations" in ETIS, the Database of Estonian Science (in Estonian) Accessed on 30 September 2016.
- ETIS (in Estonian)
- Tartu Ülikooli nõukogu esimeheks sai Kersti Kaljulaid, University of Tartu's press release, 2011 (in Estonian). Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- Otti Eylandt, Kersti Kaljulaid: inimestega tuleb rääkida – igal pool toimib Eesti Päevaleht, 29 September 2016 (in Estonian). Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- Kersti Kaljulaid: pagulasküsimuses on vaja julgust nagu iseseisvuse taastamise ajal Archived 11 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Postimees, 9 September 2015 (in Estonian). Retrieved 3 October 2016.
- Eurominutid. Postimees. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
- Estonian Business Register Archived 21 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine (in Estonian)
- Praxist valiti juhtima Kersti Kaljulaid UT, November 2015 (in Estonian). Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- Kersti Kaljulaiu ametiaeg Euroopa Kontrollikojas lõppes, kuid ta jääb valitsuse otsustamatuse tõttu ametisse ega saa asuda Praxise juhiks Delfi, 6 May 2016 (in Estonian). Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- Kaljulaid: viivitus teeb kontrollikoja töö keerulisemaks, kuid tuleme toime Archived 1 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Postimees, 29 April 2016 (in Estonian). Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- Arenguseire nõukoja esimeheks valiti Kersti Kaljulaid Estonian National Broadcasting (ERR), 19 June 2016 (in Estonian). Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- "FOTOD ja VIDEO | Vanematekogu tegi ettepaneku esitada presidendikandidaadiks Kersti Kaljulaid" Estonian National Broadcasting (ERR), 27 September 2016 (in Estonian). Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- Estonia: Parlt parties voice support of Kaljulaid's candidacy The Baltic Times, 28 September 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- В поддержку кандидатуры Керсти Кальюлайд было собрано 90 подписей. Postimees, 30 September 2016 (in Russian). Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- EKRE ei ole muutnud Kaljulaidi suhtes meelt ja oma hääli talle ei anna Archived 5 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Postimees, 3 October 2016 (in Estonian). Retrieved 3 October 2016.
- DELFI TÄNAVAKÜSITLUS: Kui tuntud on Kersti Kaljulaid rahva seas? Delfi, 27 September 2016 (in Estonian). Retrieved 3 October 2016.
- Kaljulaiust: rahvale tundmatu inimene, kelle nimegagi eksitakse. Postimees, 28 September 2015 (in Estonian). Retrieved 11 August 2016.
- JANEK MÄGGI: Eestile otsiti presidenti justkui personalifirma kaudu Pealinn, 3 October 2015 (in Estonian). Retrieved 3 October 2016.
- Kersti Kaljulaid: minu kiri kõigile Eestimaa inimestele Archived 5 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Postimees, 29 September 2015 (in Estonian). Retrieved 3 October 2016.
- "New Estonian president's approval rating at 73%". ERR. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
- OECD announces candidates for next Secretary-General Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), press release of November 2, 2020.
- "Kersti Kaljulaid withdraws OECD candidacy". Eesti Rahvusringhääling. 26 January 2021.
- "SDE would support Kaljulaid for second presidential term". Eesti Rahvusringhääling. 21 January 2021.
- "Center not in rush to support Kaljulaid for second term". Eesti Rahvusringhääling. 28 January 2021.
- "President first Estonian to make it to Forbes' World's 100 Most Powerful Women list". www.baltictimes.com. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
- "President Kaljulaid among Forbes' 100 most powerful women". Estonian World. 1 November 2017. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
- Howard, Caroline. "Women Who Rule the World: The 25 Most Powerful Female Political Leaders 2017". Forbes. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
- Kersti Kaljulaid ujub presidendiakvaariumis üksinda: nad on kõik mu seljataga olemas, mu perekond Delfi, 28 September 2016 (in Estonian). Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- ERR, ERR | (10 May 2020). "Kersti Kaljulaid: I am a relatively useless grandmother". ERR. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
- Kes on Kersti Kaljulaiu salapärane abikaasa Georgi-Rene Maksimovski? Õhtuleht, 29 September 2016 (in Estonian). Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- TTÜ lõpetajad 1918–2006, Tallinn Technical University (in Estonian). Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- "Prosecutor ends criminal proceeding concerning Raimond Kaljulaid". News.err.ee, 10 May 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
- Ühe perekonna tähtis nädal: Eesti uueks presidendiks võib saada äsja abielu lahutanud Raimond Kaljulaiu poolõde. Delfi, 27 September 2016 (in Estonian). Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- "Biography". president.ee. Vabariigi Presidendi Kantselei. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
- "New President Of Estonia Doesn't Mind to Speak Russian". russia-ic.com.
- "Vabariigi President". www.president.ee. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 September 2019. Retrieved 14 April 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Le onorificenze della Repubblica Italiana". www.quirinale.it. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
- "Par Triju Zvaigžņu ordeņa piešķiršanu - Latvijas Vēstnesis". www.vestnesis.lv. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
- Aasta eurooplaseks valiti Kersti Kaljulaid Archived 1 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Postimees, 9 May 2009 (in Estonian). Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- The Unity Award, Open Estonian Foundation (in Estonian). Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- LGBT+ kogukonna eest seisjad pälvisid vikerkaarekangelase auhinna Retrieved 13 July 2020.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kersti Kaljulaid.|
- Estonia: Parlt parties voice support of Kaljulaid's candidacy The Baltic Times, 28 September 2016.
- "President Kersti Kaljulaid's Interview for Finnish Business Newspaper Kauppalehti: 'Digital' Supports a Return to Growth". Estonian Investment Agency, 29 November 2016.
- "Estonia ‘not afraid’ to be on Nato frontline, president says". Financial Times, 9 February 2017.
- Lally Weymouth: "‘Russia is a threat’: Estonia frets about its neighbor". The Washington Post, 24 March 2017 (Interview with Kersti Kaljulaid)
- "Biography | President", Office of the President of Estonia, 3 August 2017.
Toomas Hendrik Ilves
| President of Estonia