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Kallas Reelected as Leader of Estonia’s Party Despite Husband’s Russia Controversy

Estonia’s ruling Reform Party reaffirmed Prime Minister Kaja Kallas as its chairperson on Saturday, securing her position despite calls from the opposition and voters for her resignation over her husband’s business dealings in Russia.

Kallas, a 46-year-old lawyer, has been leading the Reform Party, the country’s largest political group, since April 2018. She was also appointed as the first female prime minister of Estonia in January 2021.

As the daughter of former Estonian Prime Minister Siim Kallas, Kaja Kallas has been an avid supporter of Ukraine and a vocal critic of Russia within the EU and NATO. Her leadership led the Reform Party to a significant victory in Estonia’s March general election, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine being a prominent theme in the campaigning.

Despite her domestic popularity taking a hit in August due to reports about her husband’s involvement in a transportation company operating in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, Kallas has refused to step down, even after receiving requests to do so from President Alar Karis. A majority of Estonians surveyed in recent opinion polls indicated their belief that Kallas should resign.

During parliamentary committee hearings, Kallas denied having knowledge of her husband’s business activities in Russia, despite previously calling for Estonian companies to halt their operations in the country.

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