Presidential election: First voting round over, no winner (5)
In the first voting round of this year’s presidential election, President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor (SDE) got 40 votes, followed by the Center Party’s candidate, Mailis Reps, with 26, and IRL and Free Party candidate Allar Jõks coming in last with 24 votes. The next voting round will take place at 12 p.m. on Tuesday.
Interviews by ERR with members of the different parliamentary groups brought out that most MPs agree that the next president won’t be elected in the Riigikogu. While Kadri Simson (Center) said that her party would see no reason to drop their own candidate, Mailis Reps, both the Free Party and IRL’s members made clear that they would continue to support Jõks.
As it is in the interest of the Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) to see the elections passed on to the electoral college, where they are planning to introduce their chairman, Mart Helme, as a candidate, neither the largest groups in the Riigikogu nor the coalition have the votes it would take to elect the next head of state.
Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas (Reform) expressed regret that the opposition parties were obviously unable to show the statesmanship required to elect the president in parliament, and agree on a common candidate.
If the electoral college convenes, it will be the last time
It is worth noting that if tomorrow’s second and third ballot rounds do not produce a new president and the election does move on to the electoral college, it will be the last time such a body convenes, as five years from now the Administrative Reform Act will have entered into force, and the political organization of the country changed. The local government councils that in today’s system send representatives to the electoral college won’t exist anymore, and with their demise, the election procedure for the presidency will have to be changed.