Eiki Nestor announces bid for Estonian presidency
President of the Riigkogu and member of the Social Democratic Party (SDE) Eiki Nestor announced that he has decided to run for president in the upcoming election. According to Nestor, the SDE should endorse his candidacy sometime during the next two weeks.
“The party will make the decision during the next two weeks, and then I will also be backed by party support,” Nestor said during Vikerraadio’s news broadcast “Uudis+.” According to the president of the Riigikogu, the decision will be made by the SDE’s Board of Directors, which is slated to convene before the party’s general assembly taking place on June 4.
Nestor said that logical expectations have been set for the next future president in the ongoing debate surrounding Estonia’s presidential election, but based on these expectations, Estonia’s future head of state could also be someone previously active in politics. “I think that a president will be elected for Estonia with a worldview and perceptions of their own, and the voters of some parties will surely be disappointed in the final election results,” noted Nestor.
In his opinion, it would not be possible to find a candidate who satisfied the interests of all of the country’s political parties, as trying to please everyone could very quickly lead to general resentment. “On the other hand, the president must be able to communicate with both EKRE (Conservative People’s Party of Estonia) and SDE voters,” Nestor pointed out. “Whether or not they always reach a consensus with them is another matter, but [the president] must surely be open to everyone.”
Sufficient experience to be president
The chairman of the Riigikogu expressed that he had nothing against the other confirmed potential candidates, who were all good and nice people. He noted, however, that over the course of his career he has gained a lot of experience which helps him better see the root causes of problems. “The first reason I gave to my fellow party members was my experience, based upon which I could confidently be president,” said Nestor.
He confirmed, however, that if he were to be elected, he would not begin changing his views after taking office. “There are people who support me and there are people who will never begin to support me,” stated the Social Democrat. “Therefore I will remain the kind of person who always tries to make it clear that the opinions of those in the minority must always be respected as well.”
The President of Estonia is elected by the Riigikogu for a five-year term. If no candidate reaches a supermajority of two thirds of the Riigikogu’s votes in three balloting rounds, the election is postponed, and a special electoral college convenes. The electoral college is made up of the Riigikogu’s members as well as representatives of Estonia’s local governments.
To become a presidential candidate, an individual needs to be nominated by at least 21 of the 101 members of the Riigikogu. In addition to Nestor, Siim Kallas, Marina Kaljurand, Jaak Jõerüüt, Urmas Paet, Mailis Reps have all publicly confirmed their interest in running for president.
Estonia's 2016 presidential election is scheduled to be held on August 29.