Kallas and Ratas to introduce presidential candidates to party groups

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Kaja Kallas and Jüri Ratas. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Reform and Center parties have found potential presidential candidates and will introduce them to the party factions on Monday.

Chairman of the Center Party Jüri Ratas and chairman of the Reform Party Kaja Kallas discussed a possible candidate on Sunday evening. The potential candidate will be introduced to both Riigikogu factions on Monday evening.

Mart Võrklaev, chairman of the Reform faction, confirmed to ERR the presidential elections will be the main topic of the meeting but he did not name the potential candidate.

The candidate needs 21 votes to become an official candidate. To be elected president 68 members of the Riigikogu - two-thirds - must back the candidate.

The Riigikogu will gather to elect the president on August 30.

Karilaid: Next week will bring clarity to the presidential election

The new chairman of the Center Party Riigikogu faction Jaanus Karilaid said on Monday the candidates for president should be clear next week and that eight to nine names are currently under discussion. These potential candidates mostly have academic or business backgrounds.

Karilaid, who replaces Mailis Reps, said the party discussed future candidates at a meeting on Monday but did not want to make the names public.

"We received confirmation that Jüri Ratas and Kaja Kallas will continue to screen the candidates and the next five to seven days will bring clarity. Even if there is no clarity, the Center Party has a plan B, but it is too early to talk about it," he said.

The Reform Party will discuss candidates at a meeting on Monday evening.

President of the Academy of Sciences Tarmo Soomere, who has put himself forward for the role, is not on the list of names. Karilaid said it is unlikely Kersti Kaljulaid will get enough support from within the coalition to win a second term.

Karilaid said he believes Estonia should directly elect a president instead in the future.

Editor's note: This article was updated to add quotes from Jaanus Karilaid.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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