Reform Party decides to back Kallas in the electoral college (1)
Siim Kallas, presidential candidate of the Reform Party in the Riigikogu, said on Tuesday after the third failed attempt to elect a new president that the board of the Reform Party had to unambiguously throw its weight behind him in the electoral college.
“The party has to make a clear decision, the board has to make a clear decision that we have one candidate. This one candidate ran here today, and there are and can be no other options,” Kallas said.
“This decision should be made today. The party can have only one candidate, and that’s me in this present case,” Kallas added.
The Riigikogu proved unable to elect a new president. None of the two candidates in the third and final voting round received the 68 votes necessary for election.
In the third round, Siim Kallas received 42 votes, and Mailis Reps, deputy chairperson of the opposition Center Party’s parliamentary group, received 26 votes. As their candidate Allar Jõks was out of the race at that point, both IRL and the Free Party handed in their ballot sheets blank. So did the Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE).
The task of electing the head of state will now pass on to an electoral college made up of all 101 members of the Riigikogu as well as 234 representatives of local government councils.
Party leadership: Kallas most likely to get elected
The Reform Party’s leadership decided in a meeting held in Kadriorg on Tuesday evening that they would back Siim Kallas’ candidacy in the electoral college. The decision means that current Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand (independent), who is still traded as the people’s candidate due to her very high approval ratings, will have to run without any particular party’s support come election day next month.
After the meeting, Reform’s chairman and prime minister Taavi Rõivas said to ERR that the decision certainly hadn’t been easy. “It’s no secret that there are a lot of people in the Reform Party that supported Marina Kaljurand as the party’s first choice, and also a lot who supported Urmas Paet,” Rõivas said.
Rõivas added that it all came down to the question who the party would be able to get elected. Considering the current situation, this was without a doubt Siim Kallas.
Marina Kaljurand was in Sweden on Tuesday and not available for comment.