Electoral service: Extraordinary elections would take 40 days to prepare

Ballot counting.
Ballot counting. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Head of the Estonian National Electoral Service Arne Koitmäe said in his reply to the Office of the President that declaring and holding extraordinary elections should be at least 40 days apart.

"We find that even though section 60, subsection 4 of the Constitution states that extraordinary elections need to be held 20-40 days after they are declared, the optimal period is 40 days. We find a deadline of 20 days to be unrealistic considering procedures and deadlines pursuant to the law," Koitmäe said.

He added that at least ten days must be allocated for nomination and registration of candidates. The electronic voting system needs to be set up at least ten days before the elections.

"There must also be time for local governments to form polling divisions and nominate members. The electoral service will have to order and distribute electoral aids to division committees and all foreign missions."

Koitmäe said that the right to lodge complaints needs to be considered as persons whose rights have been violated cannot effectively defend themselves if the corresponding deadlines are too short.

"For these reasons, we recommend against planning anything less than 40 days for extraordinary elections preparations," Koitmäe said.

Peep Jahilo, head of the Office of the President, sent Koitmäe a letter asking what would be the optimal time period for preparing and holding extraordinary Riigikogu elections this summer.

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said on Thursday that a coalition between the Center Party, Isamaa and the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) would require a vote of no confidence in her that would give Reform grounds to request extraordinary elections, which the party would very likely do. The decision whether to declare extraordinary elections is up to the president.

Regular Riigikogu elections are scheduled for March 5, 2023.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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