Change of heart: After nominating Kaljulaid, Center MP Peeter Ernits wants Kallas in Monday election
Center Party MP Peeter Ernits issued a statement on Friday evening calling on fellow MPs not to vote for Kersti Kaljulaid in the Riigikogu’s presidential election on Monday, and to instead elect Siim Kallas the next head of state. Ernits was one of the 90 MPs to nominate Kaljulaid on Friday.
Ernits finds that naming and nominating a new presidential candidate so soon after the failed vote in the electoral college is not right.
“The only possibility to find a real president for Estonia today is to choose from among the ones who went through the entire stressful campaign, the ones the people of Estonia got familiar with in the course of several months. Are we entitled to throw away and forget the whole democratic process – just as if it never happened – just summing it up with the words ‘get over it, there were no winners’?”, Ernits asked.
“By now we have already made five attempts to elect a president for Estonia. In three rounds in the Riigikogu and in two rounds in the electoral college. One person emerged as the winner of these five rounds – Siim Kallas. Therefore it would be natural to elect him – the effective winner of the election – as president. Or at least appoint him as the second candidate for the sixth round of the election that will take place Monday. Then we would really have an election of the president, not an appointment of one,” Ernits said.
He said that coming up with Kaljulaid’s candidacy, President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor (SDE) had acted in a hurry and did not give the parliamentary groups of the parties enough time to get familiar with her.
“At the same time, before the meeting of the parliamentary groups with the potential candidate, our chairman Eiki Nestor had already given interviews on [ERR newscast] AK and issued a press release. The ubiquitous message was that the board of elders had already made a proposal to Kaljulaid to stand as candidate, even though no one had had the chance to actually express a position. Save for the person who made the proposal. I see it as a solo project of Nestor, because as far as I know, the Social Democrats themselves were not one hundred percent satisfied with this course of action,” Ernits wrote.
"I have spoken with members of all parliamentary groups. Many of them feel the same breathtaking disappointment I do, and all of the people of Estonia do, as democratic elections have lost their point,” Ernits went on, emphasizing that what this is about is not the personality of Kaljulaid but the procedure.
“I said many years ago that Kersti could become president. Yet today I find that the Riigikogu must not appoint the President of the Republic to office one week after a crisis of agreements,” Ernits said.
“A week-long mishap must not be extended to a five-year disaster. I am sure that Kersti Kaljulaid will manage as president, but the way she will be appointed to office is eroding Estonia’s political culture. What is happening now is not a democratic process of election, but an appointment to office. Just like in Soviet times. I cannot be a party to this. Dear colleagues, members of the Riigikogu, let us come to our senses, let us rise up. At least for once,” the statement by Ernits concluded.
Members of the Riigikogu handed 90 nominations of Kersti Kaljulaid as a cross-party presidential candidate to the National Electoral Committe on Friday. As 21 nominations, each one signed by an MP, are necessary to make someone a candidate, and as every MP can only sign once, this means that Kaljulaid will not face any competitors in the election set for tomorrow Monday, Oct. 3.
Center Party MP Peeter Ernits was one of the MPs nominating Kaljulaid, and thus won’t be able to nominate Siim Kallas.