Jaak Jõerüüt also prepared to run for president
Speaking to ERR’s online news portal, author and diplomat Jaak Jõerüüt recently confirmed that he would be prepared to run for the Estonian presidency. Jõeruut noted that he had accepted the Free Party’s invitation to go speak to the party and explain his views as a presidential candidate, adding that “Anyone who accepts such an invitation must take all possible consequences into account.”
According to party chairman Andres Herkel, the Free Party will support a candidate who both has cross-party support as well as is considered an authority abroad.
“The president of Estonia must be as independent as possible, and be able to both see and show the bigger picture on where Estonia needs to be headed,” Herkel noted in a statement from the party.
In his opinion, the president must also respond to tensions in the Riigikogu, bring society together, and be a persuasive speaker and partner in dialogue for all different society groups.
Jaak Jõerüüt noted that current presidential election law puts both political parties and candidates in a difficult position, as there is no legal basis to nominate oneself as a candidate, and even members of the Riigikogu can only nominate candidates just four days before the first round of elections in the Riigikogu.
Jõerüüt, however, would not let himself be discouraged by the fact that the Free Party with its eight MPs could not nominate him for the presidency, as a nomination requires the support of at least 21 MPs.
In regards to the fact that in order to nominate him for president, the Free Party would have to involve other political forces, Jõerüüt told ERR’s news portal that “If someone is running for president, they must a priori be cross-party.”
The Social Democratic Party (SDE), Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL), and the Free Party have all publicly stated that they support the finding of a cross-party candidate.
Jõerüüt had been a member of the Reform Party from 2004-2012, but stepped out when the party’s financing scandal, also known as “Silvergate,” broke out in May 2012. He does not currently belong to any political party.
From 2004-2005, Jaak Jõerüüt was the Estonian Minister of Defence. He has also been the country’s ambassador to Finland, Italy and Malta, Cyprus, the UN, Latvia, and Sweden.
In addition to Jõerüüt, the Free Party has also invited Marina Kaljurand, Allar Jõks and Indrek Tarand to come introduce their views to the party.
Siim Kallas, former vice-president of the European Commission and honorary chairman of the ruling Reform Party, recently publicly announced that he was prepared to be nominated for the Estonian presidency.
In order for the president to be elected within the Riigikogu, they must receive the support of 68 MPs; even the unanimous support of the 59-vote coalition would not be enough to qualify.
The Reform Party, with whom potential candidates Siim Kallas, Marina Kaljurand and Urmas Paet are associated, has proposed to all parties represented in the Riigikogu that they seek a common candidate for the presidency.
The 2016 presidential election in Estonia is to take place on August 29 of this year.