Reps: Reform Party betting on electoral college win (1)
The Center Party’s presidential nominee, MP Mailis Reps, said on Friday that the Reform Party had apparently decided to take the presidential elections to the electoral college, and that Marina Kaljurand’s announcement not to run in the Riigikogu ballot rounds only continued the political deadlock.
“Marina Kaljurand’s announcement has given the Reform Party’s trickery in the presidential campaigns a new dimension,” Reps said. Where the other political parties stood behind their candidates, the party of the prime minister continued with three hopefuls.
To become candidates for the presidency, each of the parties’ hopefuls needs the support of 21 members of the Riigikogu. They can only be nominated four days before the first ballot round on Aug. 29.
The Riigikogu then has three ballot rounds to name the new head of state. If the third round doesn’t produce a president, the election is postponed and passed on to an electoral college of MPs and parish representatives, where new candidates can be introduced as well.
This potential division of the election has led to much tactical manoeuvring. While seasoned politicians and former functionaries like Siim Kallas and Eiki Nestor stand a better chance to be elected in the Riigikogu, others mainly relying on popular support, like Marina Kaljurand and Allar Jõks, are expected to have an advantage in the electoral college.
Reps interprets Kaljurand’s announcement as the Reform Party ditching Kallas and hoping for the election to happen in the electoral college. “The Reform Party’s leadership isn’t ready to make a single compromise. Siim Kallas is left alone negotiating in parliament, as his party doesn’t bank on him. Instead, they are already getting used to the idea that the election will move on to the electoral college, where they’re banking on the ruling party’s ability to ‘support’ local governments,” Reps said.
“The institution is valuable and important to the people, and this demands of the parties to approach the subject firmly and transparently. The Reform Party is far from that,” she added.
Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand (independent), who of all the current presidential hopefuls enjoys the greatest popularity among voters, announced on Wednesday that she would only be a candidate if the election moved on to the electoral college. She explained the decision with the general assumption that Siim Kallas stood a better chance to get elected in the Riigikogu.