A new president for Estonia

After weeks of indecision the parliament in Tallinn has elected a woman to the office of president - a first in the country's history. Biologist Kersti Kaljulaid, 46, hitherto employed at the European Court of Auditors, will become Estonia's new head of state. Commentators in the country have high hopes for the successor to Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

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Maaleht (EE) /

Time for a president with a motherly touch

Hopefully the new president will do more for her people than her predecessor did, Maaleht writes:

“President Toomas Hendrik Ilves lent a certain grandeur to Estonia, but he couldn't return the dividends to the people. That task now falls to President Kaljulaid: she must use her power in the service of the people. Certainly, a president in a parliamentary republic has limited power. Nevertheless the people have the right to seek maternal advice and even help. More than ever Estonians want their head of state to be not just a person of stature, but also to care about their concerns. Because the people do have concerns. Many decent families are in financial difficulties, ships are taking our workers across the sea, important services are becoming increasingly inaccessible for people in the countryside. 45,000 square kilometres isn't much, but this area harbours incredible contrasts which one must see and feel for oneself.”

Õhtuleht (EE) /

Pomp as a diversionary tactic

As far as Õhtuleht is concerned far too much fuss is being made over the handing over of office:

“Now comes the inauguration ceremony at Kariorg [castle], as if this were a monarchy and magnificent festivities were in order. You get the feeling that the more this Soviet-style election is criticised, the more the participants feel the need to bury the accusations under an avalanche of ceremonies. … In actual fact we are just as fed up with [outgoing president] Ilves as we are with [ex-prime minister] Ansip. Therefore we expect him to go quietly, not deliver a televised speech on his last day in office. What can he say that he hasn't already had the chance to say in the last ten years?”