Seeder: Riigikogu to discuss amending presidential election procedure

Deputy Chairman of the Riigikogu Helir-Valdor Seeder Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The Presidential Election Act needs to be amended following the recent administrative reform that reduced the number of local governments and their representation in the electoral body. Deputy Chairman of the Riigikogu Helir-Valdor Seeder (Isamaa) said the matter is urgent and will be put on the parliament's agenda this fall.

Estonia's administrative reform that considerably reduced the number of local governments has created a new situation for presidential elections, throwing out of balance the presidential electoral college made up of MPs and representatives of local government councils. If before the reform, local government representatives made up two-thirds of the electoral body, MPs and local council members currently make up half and half, with 101 MPs and 107 local government electors.

Deputy Chairman of the Riigikogu Helir-Valdor Seeder told ERR the matter is urgent and clarity is needed before the end of the current Riigikogu session.

Seeder explained that coalition parties have broached the subject, while it remains unclear whether a common position can be formed. He added that it is likely the opposition is also split in this matter.

"My personal view is that earlier representation in the electoral body struck the right balance, considering the presidential election system, and I would restore it," Seeder said.

"True, should we decide that we want to restore the previous ratio of local government electors making up two-thirds of the electoral college, we would be faced with the problem of how to divide those seats between local governments. Because we have 79 local governments now, instead of 200. How will major cities like Tallinn and Tartu be represented, and how many electors will we give smaller municipalities? Changing the ratio could get stuck behind this question," Seeder added.

The Riigikogu deputy chair said the matter will be discussed soon and the current system retained if an agreement cannot be reached.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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