Election commission registers Alar Karis as presidential candidate

Presidential candidate Alar Karis on
Presidential candidate Alar Karis on "Esimene stuudio" on August 27, 2021. Source: Kairit Leibold/ERR

Alar Karis was registered as the sole candidate for president by the Estonian National Electoral Committee on Sunday evening. The first round of voting will take place on Monday (August 30).

Karis was nominated as a candidate by 34 members of the Reform Party and 25 members of the Center Party on Friday.

The first round of voting will take place in the Riigikogu at 1 p.m. on Monday and he needs 68 votes from the 101-member parliament to win. This means nine votes are also needed from the Social Democratic Party or Isamaa to reach the threshold. Voting takes place via secret ballot.

If Karis receives at least 68 votes on Monday he becomes president and the election process ends. If not, then a second round of voting will take place on Tuesday. New candidates can be registered before the second round.

This is the first time since Estonia regained independence 30 years ago that only one candidate has run in the presidential election. In the first round in 2016 there were three candidates.

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.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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