Riigikogu elections spiced up with Presidents

Eesti presidendi ametiraha.

PHOTO: Arno Saar / SL Õhtuleht.

Who or what are we going to elect anyway, sounded the justified question as, all of a sudden, possible presidential candidates were thrown into election kettle boiling with parties and prime ministers.

The opening move was by IRL who suggested Indrek Tarand, and soc dems proposing Jüri Luik. Reform Party reaction to offers by competitors: at the moment, presidents are the domain of such parties as have no decent prime ministerial candidate for the Riigikogu elections.

The haughtiness comes with a drop of truth: as yet, there are no election results, no clarity regarding power lines in parliament, and the coalition is far from settled.  

Even so, it’s no secret that the parties to hold coalition talks in March/April will be bargaining with top posts in the land. The more so that presidential elections are not too far and the coalition-to-be, provided it sticks together for a little over one year (the President is elected in August 2016) will have a realistic opportunity in Riigikogu to elect a new couple into Kadriorg.

An unwritten rule being: whoever gets the prime ministerial seat will not grab after the other high position. A fitting candidate will be sought among other power parties or close circles. Or else they will find a (relatively) cross-party candidate pleasing to all.

As two parties begun playing with the president idea, let’s play along. At the moment, Centre and Reform Parties top the popularity charts. Considering that Reform Party, long in power and cosily settled all over the place, will do its very best to create a coalition again, the current rating suggests a trio.

In case of a coalition featuring Reform, soc dems and Free Party, say, President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor might have a go – provided that Taavi Rõivas stays Prime Minster. In political circles, there’s been a lot of talk about Mr Nestor as President, possibly.

Mr Nestor might get nominated even if Reform encounters its worst nightmare – ganging up against them and intentionally spoiling coalition talks, IRL, soc dems and Free Party will agree between themselves.  

In moments most critical, there’s no such thing as «out of the question» in politics. All parties who have thus far rejected the popularity leader Centre Party may begin to rearrange their words. In that regard, it’s easiest for soc dems – possibly a kingmaker after the elections – as they never excluded creation of government with Centre Party.

There’s 17 days to go till Election Sunday. Starting February 19th, it is advance polls and e-elections time. 

POSSIBLE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

Siim Kallas

In the 1990ies, Siim Kallas was repeatedly suggested, by himself and others, as prime minister. Only in 2002, he became that for a year and a half. Now, this past decade, even more fervently he’s been expected and directed regarding Kadriorg.

Not many in Estonia to trump Mr Kallas by the various parameters – charisma, dozens of high posts, contacts all over the world, a Helle Meri calibre smart wife, a vision for Estonia, scandals. Though trapped in own party, Mr Kallas is definitely not out of the game. 

Marina Kaljurand

Indisputably, Ms Kaljurand is a strongest foreign policy expert in Estonia – the very quality perhaps to be decisive with the next president. A highly likable person, a lady with top level diplomatic experience in East and West. As her weakness, she has never sought a mandate at any elections. Nevertheless, this will not diminish her 20 plus years of efforts for the good of Estonia diplomatically. Wisely careful, good that Ms Kajurand rushed not to join Reform Party as the foreign minister portfolio was seeking an owner. However, when talking about a president Reform Party has up to now mentioned her most, and Ms Kaljurand might fit the other parties too.

Indrek Tarand

Father of three, a MEP, a folk favourite. Once set up for President by Centre Party, Mr Tarand is interested both in the office and the beauty of the game. «I am the citizen society candidate, slightly higher than any other party taken separately,» announced Mr Tarand. And obviously: should Riigikogu fail to get a president elected (and Mr Tarand is unlikely to become a cross-party candidate), on the «field» i.e. in the electoral college he’s options would be high indeed. Running against Toomas Hendrik Ilves in Riigikogu in 2011, in secret ballot Mr Tarand got defeated 25:73. 

Jüri Luik

Soc dem chief Sven Mikser went solo – Ambassador Jüri Luik, suggested by him, knew nothing about it at all. Meanwhile, considering Mr Mikser’s fondness of defence policy, one understands the move. A diplomat through-and-through, Mr Luik is definitely to be taken serious in defence. Also, he comes with foreign political weight and experience in international communications. And, when following the up-to-now Estonian presidential rhythm – the controversial Lennart Meri, the people-pacifier Arnold Rüütel, the controversial Toomas Hendrik Ilves –, Mr Luik might do. With the post, charisma can grow.

Eiki Nestor

Managing the cross-party parliament, endeavouring to bring people closer to parliamentary decision processes, independent from his party in word and deed, the Riigikogu grand forever young man should not have too much difficulty at the topmost post. Estonia and the world would be enriched by a professional politician with striking DJ skills, a people’s man hip at soul.

Indrek Neivelt

With his wife, at presidential receptions thru the years Mr Neivelt never fails to get the best grades. Never has the man yielded to invitations and incentives to join any party. For the latter, his economic plans and visions are a temptation and trial at once. Why not skip the politics stage and make a good president?

POSSIBLY JUMPING IN

Jaak Jõerüüt

Märt Rask

Peeter Tulviste

Ardo Hansson

Andrus Ansip

Marju Lauristin

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