Politics professor: Choice of Kallas or Jõks surprised electors (6)
Comparative politics professor Vello Pettai of the University of Tartu said commenting on Saturday’s failed election that there were plenty of blank ballot sheets in the second round because nobody had expected the choice to be Siim Kallas and Allar Jõks.
Earlier this week, Pettai had said to ETV’s “Aktuaalne Kaamera” newscast that Saturday would be a “celebration of democracy”, as there was so much valid competition for the office of president. He still thinks so.
“There were four strong candidates in the first round, the fight was very even, and all electors could vote their conscience.” Pettai went on to say that the result of the first round had come as a surprise to many, and that after it, hectic talks and dealing behind the scenes started, which eventually led to the result of the second round.
Pettai believes that a lot of the members of the electoral college really didn’t have a valid candidate to vote for.
“Seeing as both candidates got more than 130 votes, between them they were neck and neck. This means that those who handed in blank ballots weren’t confident about either of them, and so they made their decision. On the other hand, I tend to think that the members of the college were there to make a choice. If you’re presented with two choices, you have to choose between the two. I understand that this is also about the right of a citizen not to make a choice, but now we’re in a new situation, and we’re trying to get out of it,” Pettai said.
Those who have been candidates this far would have a very hard time becoming candidates again, Pettai said. “But every party needs to do some thinking now. If a party wants to nominate someone, then this has to happen according to some kind of procedure. I rather think that they should enter direct talks and agree on a new name,” Pettai said.
“In this sense I agree with Allar Jõks, who said that the whole process has shown that the parties can’t manage to cooperate in the name and interest of the state, and now they are forced to do so even more, because the clock is ticking,” he added.