Kallas can’t expect full support of his party
According to daily Eesti Päevaleht, the Reform Party’s candidate for the presidential election in the upcoming electoral college on Sept. 24, Siim Kallas, can’t expect some seven or eight representatives of his own party to vote for him, the Baltic News Service reported on Thursday.
“Of those present, seven or eight of Kaljurand’s supporters put it plainly that even if Kaljurand shouldn't run, Siim Kallas would not get their votes in the electoral college,” Päevaleht wrote, describing the meeting of Reform's leadership on Tuesday where the party decided to drop Kaljurand.
Sources told Päevaleht that after hearing about their stance, Prime Minister Rõivas strongly advised them to reconsider.
According to the paper, Kallas’ candidacy won the leadership’s preference with 12 votes in favor and two against. The members who voted against Kallas were MP Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, and Minister of Agriculture Urmas Kruuse.
The last time the Reform Party leadership took a comparable vote was in 2014, when it had to choose a new chairman and prime minister.
Päevaleht added that Reform rallying around Kallas depended on whether or not the party would be weakened by intrigues during the remainder of the campaign as well as Kallas using its support to convince further members of the electoral college to vote for him.
Despite the clarity of the vote, it didn’t reconcile the two camps in the Reform Party, the paper added.
The leadership of the Reform Party decided late on Tuesday to back Siim Kallas as the party’s sole presidential candidate. Previously, Reform had fielded two candidates — Kallas and Minister of Foreign Affairs Marina Kaljurand (independent) — in the run-up to the election in the Riigikogu on Monday and Tuesday this week. Kaljurand eventually did not stand for election in the parliamentary balloting rounds, saying that she would consider being a candidate in the electoral college.
As neither of the two candidates in Tuesday’s runoff in the Riigikogu received the 68 votes necessary for election, the task of electing the next head of state was passed on to the electoral college, made up of all 101 members of the Riigikogu as well as 234 representatives of local government councils. In the college, a candidate needs to have at least 168 votes to get elected.
The electoral body will convene in Tallinn’s Estonia Concert Hall at 12 p.m. on Sept. 24.