Laine Randjärv (Reform) has been confirmed as a potential replacement for former prime minister Siim Kallas as Viimsi municipality elder.
Mr Kallas, also of Reform, is running for a Riigikogu spot, which would mean he would have to stand down from his current role in Viimsi, a municipality just to the east of Tallinn and a popular commuter town, should he win. Since Mr Kallas, father of party leader Kaja Kallas, is running in the number one spot in Tallinn's Central Tallinn, Lasnamäe and Pirita district, it seems likely he will be elected to the Riigikogu.
Ms Randjärv confirmed she was applying for Mr Kallas vacated post, but that it would need to be confirmed by the municipality council. In the meantime she will still run for the Riigikogu, and vacate her seat if she is chosen as Viimsi elder, effectively meaning a job switch between her and Siim Kallas.
Political musical chairs
Political parties run lists in the 12 electoral districts, with excess votes once candidates have reached a mandate for a seat being redistributed amongst those lower on the list in a modified version of the d'Hondt system. Furthermore, candidates who have run can vacate their seat at any time. When this happens, the seat is given to the next candidate on the list currently not elected to the Riigikogu. This happens when ministers are appointed from the coalition government's roster of MPs (ministers do not sit in the Riigikogu), for instance, or when MPs retire or have to step down due to sickness, maternity leave etc.
Viimsi council, comprised of three parties, Reform, the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and a local alliance called ''Rannarahvas'' is due to meet on 22 January, though the new municipal elder won't be appointed until February, it is reported.
Ms Randjärv was at the centre of controversy in October last year when she was forced to step down as head of cultural body Eesti Kontsert (EK). Ms Randjärv had been chosen the previous month, something which would also have necessitated her vacating her Riigikogu seat, but EK's board reneged on the decision, ostensibly surrounding Ms Randjärv's start date in the new role and compensation related to that. EK subsequently replaced the board with an entirely new one.
The general election is on 3 March.
Editor: Andrew Whyte