Newspapers: Saturday’s election fiasco ‘disgraceful precedent’ (2)

Counting the votes of the second ballot round. Neither of the candidate got the needed number, which means the Riigikogu will make the next attempt at electing a president on Oct. 3. (ERR)
9/26/2016 9:21 AM
Category: News

The biggest Estonian newspapers wrote in their Monday editorials that the failed attempt at choosing the next president in the electoral college was a ‘disgraceful precedent’ and an absurd waste of resources.

Päevaleht wrote that the all the politicians involved knew perfectly well how important the election was, they knew how many votes were needed, and while it could be said that after the failed election in the Riigikogu, passing on the task to the college was constitutional and even democratic, the same couldn’t be said about Saturday’s fiasco.

“The parties, in particular the Reform Party and the Center Party, had a month to correct their course, and the electors would have had the chance to nominate more candidates. This wasn’t done, and now we are in a situation that the Constitution doesn’t mention, because its authors couldn’t have imagined that intrigues between and within parties could grow so strong that they would make a presidential election fail. Part of the electors decided that it was better to create this disgraceful precedent than to give their votes to someone else [than their own candidate],” the paper wrote, adding that the same parties now needed a miracle to get the job done within just a week.

Postimees wrote in its editorial on Monday that evidently there was no point looking for culprits among the representatives of the municipalities, but that it was those making their money with day-to-day politics that were to blame.

The public election campaign had lasted for five months, and part of it had been interesting, Postimees wrote. The campaign’s cost couldn’t be measured in terms of effort, time, and money expended by the candidates and parties alone, but also by the conviction of the Estonian people that they were honestly trying to find the country’s next president.

“The result of these months is a round zero, but expectations to find someone extraordinary are overheated. The parliament’s responsibility to find a fantastic and in this sense positively surprising common candidate is bigger now than it would have been in early spring, or even still in August this year,” Postimees wrote.

Õhtuleht found that taking a clear position against the competitors’ candidates before negotiations had even started would make cooperation among parties more difficult, and that that this wasn’t the only lesson of this failed election.

“What is clear is that the election procedure needs to be changed, and that it is nothing but pure luck that it has managed to elect presidents for Estonia this far,” the paper wrote.

Business paper Äripäev wrote that spending this much time and energy on an office of comparable little power and influence was simply irresponsible and a useless waste of resources. “Time, money, people. This is absurd,” the paper wrote.

“We had candidates from which to choose, this is undeniable. Good candidates have been wasted,” Äripäev wrote and added that the large amount of empty ballot sheets were a great disappointment to all of the Estonian public.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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