Alar Karis, who serves as the director of the Estonian National Museum, has been elected as the new President of Estonia.
Alar Karis, who served as the auditor-general of Estonia between 2013-18, had not been part of the parliament. He announced his plans to run for the presidentship a few weeks ago. Interestingly, he was the sole candidate to run for the post, which is largely ceremonial in nature. The major executive powers in Estonia lie in the hands of the Prime Minister, while the President is mostly a figurehead. Nonetheless, he was endorsed by Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and her Reform Party. He also found support from the Center Party, as well as the Social Democrats and the Fatherland Party.
Karis lost his first round on Tuesday when he failed to win the minimum 68 votes (out of 101) in the parliament. However, in the second round, he was elected with 72 votes. Karis, who comes from Tartu, will become the sixth president of Estonia when he assumes office on October 11. After his election, Karis said that he promises to be a “good partner of the Riigikogu”, or the parliament.
After stepping down as the auditor-general, Alar Karis became the director of the Estonian National Museum. The museum is known to display artworks and hold exhibitions that represent the culture and daily life of Estonia. It also works to promote Estonian diaspore and Finno-Ugric cultures. Karis also has had a long career in academia. He served as a molecular geneticist and developmental biologist in various universities in the country.