Lithuanian Finance Minister Rasa Budbergytė, who worked together with Kaljulaid at the European Court of Auditors (ECA) for six years, remembers how members of the ECA boycotted a lunch with Russia’s ambassador following the annexation of Crimea back in 2014.
“She (Kaljulaid) was the initiator and we joined her in her refusal to have lunch with the Russian ambassador,” she told BNS.
Kaljulaid, the sole candidate, was supported by 81 out of 98 Estonian MPs who were present during the vote on Monday.
Liutauras Gudžinskas of the Institute of International Relations and Political Science at Vilnius University says that this shows that Kaljulaid, who is not a member of any political party, was a compromise candidate for both the ruling and opposition parties.
The associate professor expects that the new Estonian president will emphasize fight against corruption and economic competitiveness and that gender equality issues will be very important for her as well.
“If compared to our President Dalia Grybauskaitė, our president is more cautious. Kaljulaid voices her opinion boldly and openly. I believe she will encourage discussions on these issues in one way or another, even though she does not have much direct power,” he said.