Center Party-backed presidential hopeful Mailis Reps has collected the signatures of 27 MPs in support of her candidacy, which means she is eligible to be formally nominated as a presidential candidate in the Riigikogu in August.
According to Center Parliamentary Group Chairman Kadri Simson, Reps is the first presidential contendier to have drummed up the support required for nomination, parliamentary group spokesmen said on Monday. All 27 members of the Center Party have signed up in support of Reps.
"The Estonian people unfortunately cannot elect the president in a direct vote, but parties must nonetheless be clear about their candidates," explained Simson, "The presidential election must be transparent and public, not take place in parties' back rooms." She noted that this was why Reps has organized meetings across Estonia and intends to continue introducing her views and platforms in the coming months.
"By today, the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) have made their initial selections as well, supporting Eiki Nestor and Allar Jõks, respectively," noted the parliamentary group chairman. "However, both of these candidates may not collect the 21 signatures needed for nomination in parliament and will have to rely on the support of other parliamentary groups." She added that potential signatures would not come easily and likely come with strings attached.
"The Reform Party is playing the most confusing game," Simson went on, "Having three candidatesin the running but enough votes in the Riigikogu to nominate just one. Such dragging out of the issue until the 11th hour is incomprehensible, and all the more so as candidates for prime minister, for example, are made public several months before parliamentary elections. The institution of the President of the Republic is in no way less important, so I am once again urging the Reform Party to make its choice."
Editor: Editor: Aili Sarapik