Former justice chancellor: Presidential institution definitely taking a hit

Allar Jõks
Allar Jõks Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Former Chancellor of Justice and sworn advocate Allar Jõks, who ran in the previous presidential election in 2016, says he believes that the current presidential election procedure is doing great damage to the institution, adding that will be the case regardless of who is ultimately elected. In Jõks' opinion, the problem lies in the fact that political parties are not looking for the most suitable candidate for the country as a whole, but for themselves.

"It seems to me that the parties that are aiming to reach an agreement according to the presidential election procedure are not being sincere in their efforts. A presidential election is being mimicked - they want to vote, but at the same time, they don't," Jõks said.

Jõks added that looking at the current process, the presidential election lacks both passion and sincerity.

"If you look at the candidates whose names have passed by, it has been stated that maybe they are suitable. If the parties had found candidates within their own ranks, they would certainly have been at loggerheads to see that one or the other is the best candidate. Yes, a president will get elected in the end, but it's a pity ... The institution of the president will be hit regardless of who will eventually get the role," Jõks said.

Jõks says he nevertheless doesn't consider it necessary to change the system of presidential elections because the problem is not in the procedure of presidential elections, but in the way, it is currently elected.

"Yes, the easiest way is to change the law if there is political will. In 2016 everyone said that the system must be changed, but everyone wanted to change in different directions. It can be changed, but it is not a problem that has created the current problem. They are not looking for the best candidate for Estonia, but for the most useful candidate," he continued.

Jõks said that the president must act as both part state auditor and part justice chancellor, all at the same time.

He added that each president is also the "face" of their era, and may well not suit to another era.

"It is difficult to say whether Lennart Meri would be suitable as president in 2021. Or whether Kersti Kaljulaid would have been suitable as president in the 1990s. Even the years 2016 and 2021 are different," he said.

Jõks added that he does not understand the charges against the current president Kersti Kaljulaid, given the lack of progress on an alternative.

"If it was said openly that these are her shortcomings, and we could elect another president, but we are currently still in the dark," he said, adding that it is a good thing the current president is not directly linked to any party.

Elected presidents must leave any political party they may belong to, ahead of taking up office.

Jõks rejected direct presidential elections as a solution to the current problem, adding that the system only needed fine tuning, and not a complete overhaul.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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