Taavi Rõivas reneges on May Tallinn candidacy announcement

Taavi Rõivas (Reform).
Taavi Rõivas (Reform). Source: Sander Koit/ERR

Former Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas (Reform) seems to have backtracked on an earlier plan to run in the Kesklinn, Lasnamäe and Pirita district of Tallinn at the next general election.

''As far as my nomination is concerned, it's no secret and was already talked about some time ago; to wit, my intention to stand in the Kesklinn, Lasnamäe and Pirita district as I did in the local elections,'' Mr. Rõivas told ERR in May.

He also hoped that standing there would bring three mandates to the Reform Party.

Popular faces win votes for all

Known 'flagship' candidates are in demand with all parties in the run up to the election in March, as they can bring extra votes and enable other, less high-profile candidates to win a seat (the parliamentary elections are based on a modified D'Hondt proportional representation system, with parties listing candidates in 12 national districts).

Recent examples of this phenomenon include Indrek Tarand MEP (independent) running for the Social Democratic Party (SDE), even though he is not a party member, and Kaido Höövelson, former sumo wrestler 'Baruto', who is running for the Centre Party. Two new parties have also emerged in recent weeks, including the 'Biodiversity Party' (Elurikkus Erakond) led by former Free Party leader Artur Talvik. The Free Party itself has been facing challenges over the leadership of Andres Herkel.

However, ERR sources state that Mr. Rõivas may instead run in Lääne-Viru district, something party secretary Kert Valdaru has neither confirmed nor denied.

Reform remains tight-lipped

"The Reform Party has created a team which is aiming to put together a strong nationwide list. Until completed, it cannot be confirmed who will stand in which of the 12 districts. Candidates have expressed their preferences, and we try to accommodate their wishes where possible; nevertheless the Reform Party has a good roster of competent politicians and our priority is the strongest list in each district," Mr. Valdaru said.

Mr. Rõivas recently hinted that he might also run in the European elections (only ta few weeks after the general election), though would not obstruct his predecessor as Reform prime minister, Andrus Ansip, who may also run.

Mr. Valdaru was similarly coy about Siim Kallas as a possible candidate in the Kesklinn/Lasnamäe/Pirita district. Market research suggests that Mr. Kallas, a former European commissioner and prime minister, would be popular there, but Mr. Valdaru said this was not the sole criterion when choosing candidates and that other factors concerning the dynamics of lists need to be taken into account.

Mr. Rõivas was unavailable for comment. The general election is on 3 March, with the European Parliamentary elections following in late May.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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