EKRE may withdraw ballots from presidential election first voting round

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Mart Helme. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

EKRE Riigikogu members have not yet decided whether they will leave their ballots blank or withdraw them from the first round of voting of the presidential election on Monday, the party's Deputy Chairman Mart Helme said.

EKRE wants to put forward former Riigikogu speaker Henn Põlluaas as its candidate but does not have the 21 signatures from members of the Riigikogu required to do so for the first round. The party only has 19 Riigikogu members.

If a president is not elected in the first round there will be subsequent rounds of voting where new candidates can be nominated which EKRE is holding out for.

The party will hold a meeting before the voting starts on Monday to decide what to do. "Either we throw empty ballots in the box or we do not use the ballots at all, there are several options," Helme told ERR on Friday.

"It is clear that [candidate] Alar Karis will not get support from our group, because, first of all, we have our own candidate. True, we cannot nominate him in the Riigikogu, but we are behind our candidate one way or another," Helme told ERR on Friday.

Two public letters of support have been written for Põlluaas in recent weeks, Helme said, the first signed by 31 cultural figures and the second by 50 retired members of the Defense Forces.

"Opinion polls also show that Henn Põlluaas is a considerable candidate, we will not fall apart behind him," he said. 

Helme said Põlluaas' experience with national defense, foreign policy experience and politics makes him a better candidate than Estonian National Museum Alar Karis, who has been backed by the Reform and Center parties.

EKRE believes the views of the candidates proposed so far are not in line with the Estonian Constitution.

"All the candidates promoted by the mainstream media - including ERR - have an impeccably liberal democratic globalist agenda, which in our opinion is absolutely not in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia. The Constitution states very clearly what the Republic of Estonia was created for. When Alar Karis talks here about how to take refugees from Afghanistan, that the cohabitation law will not be repealed and so on, all these liberal points of conversation, which have been represented by both [former president Toomas Hendrik] Ilves and [current president Kersti] Kaljulaid, are things that are absolutely not acceptable to us," he said.

"The Estonian state will not collapse from this - and it also survived a person like Kersti Kaljulaid. It will also survive with another president for the next five years," said Helme. "But it's like rust gradually eating through iron. Gradually, such presidents and the political agenda will tear down this country."

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Editor: Helen Wright

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