Kaja Kallas, leader of the liberal Reform Party reacts after winning Estonia’s general election in Tallin, which sets her up to become the nation’s first female prime minister. Raigo Pajula—AFP/Getty Images
Digital Savvy Estonia Is Set to Get Its First Female Prime Minister
By GRACE DOBUSH
March 4, 2019
In Sunday’s parliamentary election in Estonia, the center-right Reform party won 29.4% of the vote, setting up its leader Kaja Kallas to become the first female prime minister of the Baltic country, so long as she can form a coalition government.
Estonia’s ruling Centre party took second place with 23.1%, and the far-right Estonian Conservative People’s Party took 17.8% of the vote, double its last showing. The center-left Centre party had been expected to win based on polling, but the Reform party, which has a pro-business platform, pulled ahead. The Reform and Centre parties, both pro-EU, have alternated in power since Estonia’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Kallas, a 41-year-old lawyer and a former member of the EU Parliament who specialized on digital issues, and the Reform party now must negotiate with other parties to create a government coalition. Her father, Siim Kallas, was the 14th Estonian prime minister and was an EU commissioner. Estonia’s first female president, Kersti Kaljulaid, has been in office since 2016, though the role is largely ceremonial.