Andrus Ansip

Andrus Ansip is the current Prime Minister of Estonia, and chairman of the market liberal Estonian Reform Party.

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Andrus Ansip (born 1 October 1956) is the current Prime Minister of Estonia, and chairman of the market liberal Estonian Reform Party (Estonian: Reformierakond).

Early life and career

Born in Tartu, Ansip graduated from the University of Tartu with a degree in Chemistry in 1979. He worked as an engineer at Tartu State University from 1979–1983 (with a two-year break for mandatory military service). He was an Instructor in the Industry Department and Head of the Organisational Department of the Tartu District Committee of the Estonian Communist Party from 1986–1988.[1] Ansip has been involved in several banking and investment ventures. He has served as a Member of the Board of Directors of the People’s Bank of Tartu (Estonian: Rahvapank), Chairman of the Board of Livonia Privatisation IF, and CEO of Investment Fund Broker Ltd (Estonian: Fondiinvesteeringu Maakler AS). He also has served as Chairman of the board for Radio Tartu.

Mayor of Tartu

In 1998, Ansip was elected as Mayor of Tartu as a candidate of the centrist-right Reformierakond (Reform Party), a position which he held until 2004, to great popular acclaim and very high ratings in the opinion polls. He had run in previous elections for the Riigikogu, the Estonian Parliament, but had always given up his seat in order to remain Mayor. He was succeeded by fellow Reform Party member Laine Jänes.

Chairman of Reform Party and Minister of Economics

On 21 November 2004, Ansip became Chairman of Estonian Reform Party because the party's founder and hitherto chairman, former Prime Minister Siim Kallas, had become EU Commissioner and Vice President and thus had to move to Brussels. It was obvious that Ansip would have to move to Tallinn, and a chance opened up when the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications in the coalition government of Juhan Parts, Meelis Atonen, a party colleague, had to resign. Ansip became his successor on 13 September. His track record as Minister is more difficult to evaluate because of the short duration of his service.

Prime minister

On 31 March 2005, Ansip was charged by President Arnold Rüütel to form a government, following 24 March 2005 resignation by Prime Minister Juhan Parts. Ansip was able to form a coalition with the Centre Party and the People's Union of Estonia, which was approved by the Riigikogu on 12 April 2005. Ansip thus became Prime Minister of Estonia. He was backed by 53 out of 101 members of the Riigikogu, 40 deputies voting against. He and the ministers were inaugurated in office the next day, on 13 April.

On 4 March 2007, Ansip's Reform Party won 27 percent of the vote in the Estonian parliamentary elections, raising its mandate in the Riigikogu to 31 seats from 19. Ansip personally received over 22,500 votes. He was charged by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves to form a government. This time the Reform Party formed a coalition with the Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica (IRL) and the Social Democratic Party. His second term as Prime Minister began on 5 April 2007. In May 2009, the Social Democrats left the government, and as coalition talks with the People's Union of Estonia[citation needed] failed, it was decided to continue with a minority government of the Reform Party and IRL.

In March 2011, the Reform Party won 33 seats in the Riigikogu, remaining the largest party. He was once again charged by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves to form a government. The Reform Party continued in a coalition with the Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica. Ansip's third term as Prime Minister began on 6 April 2011, when Riigikogu approved his third cabinet.

The Cabinet

The third cabinet of Andrus Ansip is as follows:

position person remarks
Estonian Reform Party
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet held this position previously;
Minister of Justice Kristen Michal
Minister of Culture Rein Lang former Minister of Justice; former Minister of Foreign Affairs
Minister of the Environment Keit Pentus
Minister of Social Affairs Hanno Pevkur held this position previously
Minister of Finance Jürgen Ligi held this position previously
Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica
Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts held this position previously; former Prime Minister
Minister of Education and Research Jaak Aaviksoo former Minister of Defence; former rector of Tartu University
Minister of Defence Urmas Reinsalu after Mart Laar´s resignation (because of a stroke)
Minister of Agriculture Helir-Valdor Seeder held this position previously;
Minister of Regional Affairs Siim-Valmar Kiisler held this position previously;
Minister of Internal Affairs Ken-Marti Vaher former Minister of Justice

Relocation of the Bronze Soldier of Tallinn

One of the most controversial actions of Ansip's government was relocation of the Bronze Soldier of Tallinn from a prominent location in the center of Tallinn to the Defence Forces Cemetery of Tallinn adjacent to the city center. The removal of the monument, as well as war graves, from its current location on 27 April 2007 led to mass protests and two nights of the worst rioting Estonia has seen since regaining independence.[2][3]

Personal life

Andrus Ansip is married to gynecologist Anu Ansip (b. 1956)[4] and they have three daughters Reet (b. 1977), who is a stomatologist; Tiina (b. 1981) who is a journalist and Liisa (b. 1997).[5]

Andrus Ansip is a member of the Estonian voluntary home guard organisation Kaitseliit (Defence League) since 10 November 2009.[6]

Apart from his native Estonian, he speaks fluent English, Russian and Finnish.

Awards

  • On 31 July 2007 Ansip was recognized for "his service in fight for Estonian freedom and Estonian national idea" by Estonian Central Council in Canada.[7]
  • Estonian Newspaper Association named Ansip Press Enemy of 2007.[8]
  • Albania: On 5 April 2010 Received a copy of the key of the city of Tirana on the occasion of his state visit to Albania.[9]