SDE MP: I don't know enough about Karis to vote him in as president
Alar Karis, sole candidate at Monday's Riigikogu presidential elections first ballot, is not the candidate of choice for the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE), one of its MPs said.
One issue at stake was the inadequate time frame in which to get to know him as a candidate and to be able to confidently vote for him as head of state, for a five-year term, the MP, Riina Sikkut said adding this was not just her personal opinion.
Sikkut said; "An hour-and-a-half's meeting with the Riigikogu group is not enough. This is a situation many would like, meaning there would not be so little time for discussion," Sikkut, a former health minister added.
"If the candidate had been nominated earlier, it would be much easier for MPs to made a decision," Sikkut said, adding that her party would prefer either a second term for Kersti Kaljulaid or the party's own MEP and 2016 candidate Marina Kaljurand.
Karis was only nominated as president two weeks ago.
"If the coalition wants support for its candidate, much more needs to be done," Sikkut said, adding she would not be voting for Karis in the secret ballot.
While SDE's leader Indrek Saar allowed his 11 MPs a free reign on how they vote, Karis was the only candidate at Monday's election.
Isamaa, the other opposition party who can provide sufficient votes for Reform and Center to reach the magic 68 votes, also allowed its MPs to vote as they see fit.
Reform and Center have 59 seats together, but according to reports, Reform Party member Siim Kallas is not able to vote due to ill-health, leaving the coalition 10 votes short.
Voting opened at 1 p.m. and closes at 2.15 p.m. Monday, Estonian time. The result of the first ballot should be known by late afternoon.
If Karis does not get elected, a second ballot is held on Tuesday morning, with nominations for other candidates open for two hours, 8.00 a.m. to 10.00 a.m.
If that vote, too, draws a blank, then a third ballot is held Tuesday afternoon between the two candidates to have received the most votes in the second ballot – if there are two – and if that proves inconclusive also, the process continues in September at the regional electoral colleges, an outcome Jüri Ratas expressly said he wanted to avoid.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte