Riigikogu to convene for presidential elections on August 29

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Ballot being stamped during the Board of the Riigikogu elections in March 2016. Photo is illustrative. Source: (Jaanus Lensment/Postimees/Scanpix)

Following Estonian law, President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor, on the proposal of current head of state President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, has called together an extraordinary session of the Riigikogu to elect the next President of the Republic of Estonia on August 29.

Pursuant to the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia, the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act and the President of the Republic Election Act and on the proposal of the President of the Republic of Estonia, Riigikogu president Eiki Nestor has called for the Riigikogu to convene for an extraordinary session on August 29, 2016, for which the only item on the agenda is the election of Estonia’s next president, according to a press release from the Riigikogu.

“I still believe that electing the President of the Republic is a part of the Riigikogu’s constitutional job description,” said Ilves in Thursday’s proposal. “The candidate of just one party cannot become president, however; the President of the Republic does not belong to any one party. What is needed is a cross-party consensus which reflects the views of various electorates, which requires meaningful and concise consultations, which I am encouraging them to hold quickly and effectively.”

The current president, whose second and final term is drawing to a close, also remained firm in his belief that during globally sensitive and delicate times, Estonia needs a president who knows during critical moments from whom and how to find support, knows how to contact allies on the transatlantic security axis that are important to the country, and who can make sure Estonia’s voice is heard.

Referring to the duties expressly outlined in the Constitution of Estonia, Ilves quoted, “‘The President of the Republic shall represent the Republic of Estonia in international relations.’”

He also added that he did not like metaphors referring to which direction the head of state must face — whether toward their own people or toward the outside world — as facing inward meant the country’s isolation from the rest of the world.

“The president must stand for Estonia’s interests,” concluded Ilves. “They uphold the Constitution. They know what the people’s concerns are, and are demanding in regards to power. They must be the President of the Republic, and that says it all.”

The President of Estonia is elected by the Riigikogu for a five-year term. If no candidate reaches a supermajority of two thirds of the Riigikogu’s votes in three or fewer balloting rounds, the election is postponed, and a special electoral college will be convened. The electoral college is made up of the Riigikogu’s members as well as representatives of Estonia’s local governments.

To become a presidential candidate, an individual needs to be nominated by at least 21 of the 101 members of the Riigikogu.

Editor: Editor: Aili Sarapik

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