Center Party to announce presidential candidate on Sunday

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The Center Party met with Alar Karis on August 19, 2021. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The Center Party will announce its presidential candidate on Sunday.

Both coalition parties, Reform and Center, met with the Director of the Estonian National Museum Alar Karis on Thursday. While Reform's Riigikogu faction and board said it would likely back Karis after a discussion with him, Center held back and said it would announce its plans on Sunday.

The party's council will meet at 5 p.m. on Saturday and then again at noon on Sunday, chairman of the faction Jaanus Karilaid said on Friday. The party is debating between backing Karis or the President of the Academy of Sciences Tarmo Soomere.  

Karilaid said Karis made a very good impression on the members of the faction. He said Karis, like Soomere, has been active in the scientific world for a long time and has been involved in the development of two dignified universities.

But Karilaid emphasized that cross-party support is needed to elect the president.

"We must act in sync with other parties. We know that the Isamaa and Social Democrats will not meet until Monday, but the chairman of the Center Party Jüri Ratas has had the opportunity to communicate closely with party leaders and consider which candidate has the opportunity to gain more political support," Karilaid said.

The first round of voting for a new president will start in nine days time on August 30. The 101-seat Riigikogu proposes and elects the president but a candidate needs 68 votes of support, meaning several parties must back the same candidate. So far, only EKRE has proposed a candidate.

Discussions with Soomere stalled two weeks ago after several parties, including Isamaa, said they would not support him.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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