Newspapers: Cross-party candidate could have been found among previous contenders

Candidates in two failed elections: Mart Helme (EKRE), Mailis Reps (Center), Allar Jõks (independent, supported by the Free Party and IRL), Siim Kallas (Reform), and Marina Kaljurand (independent) (ERR)
9/28/2016 9:10 AM
Category: News

The Estonian press commented on the Riigikogu’s Council of Elders’ decision on Wednesday morning to propose Kersti Kaljulaid as a cross-party presidential candidate. The work of the council had to be acknowledged, most wrote, but such a candidate could have been found among the five that ran in the Riigikogu and in the electoral college.

Daily Päevaleht wrote in its Wednesday editorial that it wasn’t clear how mentally prepared for the presidency someone could be who had been made such an offer so unexpectedly. That’s why the current fast-tracked procedure could be seen as a presidential lottery: Maybe we’ll get a good president, maybe we won’t.

“And what if Kersti Kaljulaid’s answer is ‘No’ this afternoon or this evening, after everything has been considered? Then there’s even less time to find a new candidate. In that case, the members of the Riigikogu will certainly have to find a suitable candidate from among the previous five,” the paper wrote.

Päevaleht went on to write that the candidates in the electoral college had represented a sufficiently broad range of specialized fields, and also of experience. “The only thing that was missing was the will of the Riigikogu and the electoral college to come to an agreement. Better negotiations and more effort to find a cross-party candidate could have given us a new president from among the previously competing candidates.”

Postimees remarked in its editorial that the process that had been going on since spring, and that culminated in Saturday’s failed election reflected problems related to the law to elect the head of state, as well as a lack of statesmanship among Estonian politicians.

“The welfare of the Estonian state should come first, but unfortunately cooperation among political parties and the inability (and, in places, the unwillingness) to find a way out of the situation have put Estonia’s political system and democracy under pressure,” Postimees wrote.

At the same time, one had a reason for hope after Tuesday’s events that the parties had finally been able to let go of their egoism. “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, even though there are still hypocritical forces at work in the Riigikogu that are after personal political gain,” the paper wrote.

Tabloid Õhtuleht wrote that neither Kersti Kaljulaid nor Jüri Luik had the support of all parties, and that after nominating them on Monday it wasn’t certain that they would get the 68 votes they needed to be elected.

“One can only admire their bravery and readiness to to jump on (or throw themselves in front of) the presidential election train. In the current situation there’s no guarantee whatsoever that the agreements will hold in the secret ballots,” Õhtuleht wrote.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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