Reform and Center nominated director of the Estonian National Museum Alar Karis as a presidential candidate and submitted 59 signatures of support to the National Electoral Committee on Friday.
The signatures were handed over by Mart Võrklaev, leader of the Riigikogu faction of the Reform Party, and Jaanus Karilaid, leader of the Center Party faction at 10 a.m. in front of the media.
Karis was nominated by all 25 members of the Center Party's Riigikogu faction:
Dmitri Dmitrijev, Enn Eesmaa, Kaido Höövelson, Maria Jufereva-Skuratovski, Marek Jürgenson, Jaanus Karilaid, Mikhail Korb, Andrei Korobeinik, Siret Kotka, Igor Kravchenko, Kerstin-Oudekki Loone, Aadu Mug, Peeter Rahnel, Jüri Ratas, Martin Repinski, Mailis Reps, Kersti Sarapuu, Erki Savisaar, Imre Sooäär, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Marko Šorin, Tarmo Tamm, Marika Tuus-Laul and Viktor Vassiljev.
As well as all 34 members of the Reform Party faction:
Annely Akkermann, Yoko Alender, Tiiu Aro, Ivi Eenmaa, Hele Everaus, Jüri Jaanson, Toomas Järveoja, Siim Kallas, Sulev Kannimäe, Erkki Keldo, Signe Kivi, Toomas Kivimägi, Heiki Kranich, Eerik-Niiles Kross, Ants Laaneots, Jürgen Ligi, Marko Mihkelson, Madis Milling, Hanno Pevkur, Õnne Pillak, Heidy Purga, Mati Raidma, Valdo Randpere, Andrus Seeme, Timo Suslov, Margit Sutrop, Aivar Sõerd, Kristina Šmigun-Vähi, Urve Tiidus, Vilja Toomast, Marko Torm, Aivar Viidik and Mart Võrklaev.
The first round of voting in the Riigikogu presidential election will take place on Monday, August 30 at 1 p.m. If it is inconclusive, a second round will take place on Tuesday. The support of at least 68 members is required to elect a president.
Isamaa and the Social Democratic Party did not nominate Karis and will allow their members to vote how they wish on Monday. Neither have submitted their own candidates.
Karis will most likely be the only candidate on Monday as EKRE, the only other party to put forward a candidate, does not have enough signatures to nominate its candidate.
Who is Alar Karis?
Alar Karis, 63, is an Estonian citizen by birth, a native of Tartu and the current director of the Estonian National Museum.
He is an Estonian molecular geneticist and developmental biologist who embarked on an academic career after graduating from the veterinary department of the Estonian University of Life Sciences and became a professor in 1999.
He served as rector of the Estonian University of Life Sciences from 2003-2007 and as rector of the University of Tartu from 2007-2012. He was appointed Estonia's auditor general in March 2013 and, after completing his tenure, as director of the Estonian National Museum in October 2017.
Karis was suggested as a potential candidate in spring but did not put himself forward for the role. On August 16, after discussions collapsed with the President of the Academy of Sciences Tarmo Soomere, Chairman of the Center Party Jüri Ratas approach Karis to run as a candidate. He agreed to do so last week.
Karis suggested in an interview with ERR in May (link in Estonian), while talking about presidential candidates, that the best person for the job is never chosen.
Editor: Roberta Vaino, Helen Wright