Reform, SDE to support Nestor for president in first balloting round, Kallas in following rounds
The Reform Party's Board of Directors decided on Tuesday to support the Social Democratic Party's (SDE) proposal in which both parties would support SDE candidate Eiki Nestor in the first round of voting, and, should the first round prove unsuccessful in electing the president, support Reform candidate Siim Kallas in the following two rounds.
"We find that the Social Democrats' proposal for cooperation is responsible and statesmanlike in every way and we are accepting it," said Reform Party Chairman Taavi Rõivas. "This makes more likely the possibility of electing the president within the Riigikogu, which is precisely the Reform Party's goal. The Reform Party is certainly not willing to break apart a functioning government in the name of presidential elections."
Reform and SDE have a total of 45 MPs between them in the Riigikogu; 68 votes are needed in order to elect a new president within the Riigikogu.
Should a single candidate be unable to win this supermajority of votes within three balloting rounds in the Riigikogu, the elections will be postponed and a special electoral college convened which consists of all 101 MPs plus representatives from Estonia's local governments.
IRL sticking with Jõks
Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) Parliamentary Group Chairman Priit Sibul stated that regardless of Reform and SDE's agreement, they will stick to supporting their party's candidate Allar Jõks.
According to Sibul, IRL's council has decided that their candidate was Jõks and that all other options involving pledging votes for other candidates were rather ruled out. "It is worth keeping in mind that we will be voting for a president not for the parties, but for the Estonian state," Sibul told ERR's online news portal on Tuesday.
The parliamentary group chairman added that considering his support among members of the electoral college, he has the opportunity to be elected president.
According to Sibul, Reform and SDE know very well that Kallas will not get the needed extra votes in the Riigikogu from the Center Party, who will be supporting their own candidate Mailis Reps, adding that the deal struck between the two parties only provides SDE candidate Eiki Nestor a polite exit from the elections.
"I currently see no reason why IRL should change its stances in the presidential elections," Sibul asserted.