Center Party deputy chairman: Ratas running for president is unlikely

Jüri Ratas (left) chatting to Jaanus Karilaid.
Jüri Ratas (left) chatting to Jaanus Karilaid. Source: Rene Suurkaev / ERR

Deputy-chief of the Center Party Jaanus Karilaid has said that it is unlikely that Chairman of the Center Party Jüri Ratas will run for the presidency later this year.

"It is clear for us now. The Center Party is actively looking for a candidate who would get at least 68 votes in the Riigikogu. And today it's not Jüri Ratas," Karilaid told ERR on Monday.

ERR asked Karilaid whether Ratas is running for the presidency. "I see it as highly unlikely," Karilaid said.

"Today it is clear that we are looking for a stronger consensus, we are exiting the party political framework and we trying to make a statesman decision together with the five parties," Karilaid said.

Karilaid said on May 20 that Ratas will announce his decision on presidency on May 31.

"I have understood that he will make his final decision on May 31 whether he will run for the presidency or not. If he does, he has promised to resign from the chairman position," Karilaid said.

Ratas told ERR on May 25 that he doubts that the president can be chosen in the Riigikogu.

A day later, the Center Party discussed the matter at the party's board meeting. Ratas stressed that it's important for the president to be confirmed in the Riigikogu.

The president of Estonia is indirectly elected. The Riigikogu has the task of electing the president in the first instance. If no candidate receives the required supermajority of two-thirds (68 votes out of 101), the president is elected by an electoral college consisting of parliament members and representatives of local governments. If the supermajority is failed to be reached as well, the process is to return to the parliament yet again.

The current president Kersti Kaljulaid has served one term and is eligible to be elected to a second consecutive term in office.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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