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People's Union and Center Party hope for cooperation

Jul 31, 2006
TBT Staff

The presidential candidates of Estonia may be known as early as this week, as the Center Party and the People's Union enter another day of negotiations over the topic.
Also this week, the five major political parties are expected to narrow their shortlist of preferred candidates from two to one.
The chairman of the People's Union Villu Reiljan believes that the party will sign a cooperation agreement with the Center Party even before Thursday, when the presidential candidate of five parliamentary parties would be picked.
The policy-making extended board will have an extraordinary meeting on Monday in order to give leaders of the party the authority to sign an agreement on the presidential elections with the Center Party.
The party hopes that this will create a situation permitting the People's Union, with support from the Center Party, to reinstall the incumbent Arnold Ruutel in the presidential seat in an electoral college, if the remaining parliamentary parties now looking for a joint presidential candidate -- Reform, the Pro Patria Union, Res Publica, Social Democrats and Center -- fail to elect the head of state in the parliamentary round.
"As the People's Union congress authorized the extended board to make preparations for the presidential elections, then now leaders of the party must get the authority to hold talks and to sign a cooperation agreement," Reiljan told local media.
"Ideally we hope we will be able to sign an agreement for presidential elections with the Center Party before August 3," Reiljan said.
Kadri Must, secretary-general of the Center Party, did not share Reiljan's optimism concerning the speed of signing the agreement. She said that the parties had only met once on the issue and the talks were still in a too early stage to start looking for pens.
"To sign the agreement in three days would be to go against the popular wisdom of proceeding with caution," Must said. "But we see the People's Union's wish to sign a cooperation agreement with us in a positive light," Must said.
The first round of the Estonian presidential elections in parliament will take place on August 28.
- In cooperation with BNS
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