Karis took the oath of office before the Riigikogu and outgoing president Kersti Kaljulaid handed over the president’s chain of office to the new head of state. She served as president between 2016-2021.
Karis’ term will last for five years. He is a former University of Tartu rector, auditor general and head of the Estonian National Museum.
In his speech to the Riigikogu, Karis said it as his task to find out about the political will of the Riigikogu to change the procedure for electing the president and, if necessary, to submit a proposal to amend the Constitution.
He said in the whirlwind of the presidential election, it was said that a president was being sought for the whole nation.
“It is a goal to strive for, even if it seems not completely achievable. But let’s remember that the president has a balancing role in Estonia,” he said.
“Therefore, it is by no means an unnecessary dispute as to what is the most sensible path to finding a president in modern Estonia. Regardless of the candidates, the last two elections have brought quite a bit of disappointment and frustration when it comes to that,” Karis added.
“Whether it is direct elections, elections only in the electoral college, where the representation of local governments will increase, or will everything remain as it is, just the nomination of candidates will be brought forward, to an earlier date?” the president said, adding that the answer is in the hands of the Riigikogu.
“My task is to make it clear what the parliament’s political will is and, if necessary, to submit to you a proposal to amend the Constitution. This, too, is part of the deepening of inner peace in society. Looking long ahead, adapting early to inevitable changes, is also a hallmark of wisdom,” Karis added.