Karilaid rules out supporting Kaljulaid for second presidential term
Chairman of the Center Party Faction of the Riigikogu Jaanus Karilaid criticized President Kersti Kaljulaid's actions as president and essentially ruled out supporting her for a second term.
Speaking on morning radio program "Vikerhommik" on Tuesday, Karilaid said: "I think the first half of her term showed that one could think about who could be the new president from the end of August."
He said Kaljulaid should have tried to smooth out different opinions in society, rather than amplify them. He said looking at the first two to three years of Kaljulaid's term the position "is too much for her".
He said someone else should be found to be the president from the end of August.
During her five-year term (2016-2021), Kaljulaid was highly critical of the Center-Isamaa-EKRE coalition which lasted from April 2018 to January 2021. The Center-Isamaa-SDE government was in office November 2016 - April 2019.
Karilaid, as head of the Center Party's Riigikogu faction, speaks on behalf of the elected members of the Center Party, the members who will vote for a new president next month.
Members of the Riiigikogu propose and elect the president of Estonia and the first round will take place on August 30. So far, no candidate has been presented to the public by the coalition. Center and Reform are currently trying to find a suitable candidate. The candidate needs cross-party support to be elected and must be backed by 68 of the 101 members.
Karilaid said the Center Party's "plan A" is to work "in sync" with coalition partner the Reform Party.
"If a candidate who is suitable for both coalition partners is found, then a third supporting party must be found, either Isamaa or the Social Democrats," he said.
Karilaid said if no candidate is found in the next week, the Center Party will launch "plan B", but did not specify any more details.
Yesterday, Karilaid said the parties were discussing eight to nine potential candidates.
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Editor: Helen Wright