Helme elected? Pure bluff!

PHOTO: Pm

While parties are counting the chances at electoral body, chairmen of local councils could not care less: not swayed by party background, members of electoral body are seeking for someone worthy to be President.  

Neither are members of electoral body bothered by warnings of parties as if in electoral body EKRE’s chairman Mart Helme takes the victory.

Teaming up with six county newspapers, Postimees had phone calls with almost all of the city and parish chairmen – 190 out of 213 – and asked who they would elect to be President as potential members of electoral body at the moment.

More than 130 had discussed with themselves, the voters or comrades at council who might be the new President come fall. A large part already had their favourites. As at today, three candidates clearly stood out.

«Allar Jõks – honest, likable views, just.»

«Siim Kallas – long experience, no black-and-white talk.»

«Marina Kaljurand – chance to be loved by the people.»

All over the land, potential members of electoral body were willing to give honest answers. «I’d like to hear stands. See debates. There are too many candidates at the moment with more to come probably, which sows confusion among local leaders to tell the truth,» said one. «For President I’d like a persona, but at the moment the administrative reform is more important. But surely I would not elect any of the candidates of the current coalition.»

He is not alone in thinking this way, but at the moment Reform may feel the securest as their two candidates have fans among party members and others as well. The prime ministerial party has been crafty: several council chairmen had to admit that they would not go to elect the President, as it was written into the coalition treaty that in case it is needed, a Reform party member will sit in the electoral body – no matter who is chairman.

EKRE has tried to create the myth that all other parties are afraid of the electoral body because there their leader Mart Helme is the only one with winning options. Even when counting the grey area and those who Postimees was unable to contact during the couple of days, Mr Helme’s chances to win are nonexistent. Thus, on the one hand it is bluff and unfounded scaremongering, on the other hand EKRE itself playing martyr.

But even the few who support Mr Helme at the moment are very confident and talk the same talk almost word for word – changes are needed; however things will be with him, it cannot get worse.

«One is for certain: fed up with the current gender neutral bush beating head of state,» said one such. «We need changes and changes can be brought by Mart Helme. Whatever happens, life will be better anyway.»

Like EKRE, the Free can count their members of electoral body on the fingers of one hand. By that, they are not taken aback and rest assured that the tally does not reflect their clout as, while touring the nation, they increasingly hear about people fed up with party diktat and directives from above.

Some of the Free are inclined to like the non-party Allar Jõks set forth by IRL. «Not decided yet, but I’d favour a non-party candidate. Oh why did Jõks have to get so clearly tied up with a specific party?» hesitated an electoral body member.

In various councils there will be discussion and votes. «We have a closely knit council and the good practice is to vote. This is binding, at least in round one,» he said while admitting that having no party pressure, he is inclined to favour the writer and diplomat Jaak Jõerüüt.

«There are no excellent options and the forced partyfication is no good. Jõerüüt would be good too,» said a supporter of Mr Jõks.

«There are several good options but definitely not [Eiki] Nestor,» said a supporter of Mr Kallas. While lots of soc dems lauded the current President of the Riigikogu as a nice guy, they don’t think him fit for President of Estonia.

Mr Kallas is popular as well. «If he gets elected, a fresh direction is guaranteed. Fed up with the sandbox games of the boys currently in Toompea,» said one, pointing to criticism by Mr Kallas towards current Reform top.

Marina Kaljurand is mentioned in combinations Kallas-Kaljurand, Kaljurand-Jõks, Kaljurand-Kallas, but many think it is too early for her to be President. «A good foreign minister, but a President might offer a bit more,» people say.

Some parishes were like «the first criterion might be being a woman.»

Meanwhile, a member for Edgar Savisaar says thus: «An experienced politician, Savisaar thinks the real candidates will surface at end of July and beginning of August. When the warm-up band has finished.»

Regarding Mr Savisaar as presidential candidate, an idea expressed was «while his time is over, I’d like to see Savisaar. It’s been promised all along and now I’d like to see what he’d actually do when in power.»

All that said, chairmen cited and Postimees Group journalists realise the current preferences mean nothing. Firstly, chairmen of the councils may not get elected as members of electoral bodies – the role may befall other members in the local councils. 

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