Estonian parliament fails to elect president Monday

  • 2021-08-30
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The 101-seat parliament was unable to elect the new president of Estonia on Monday as the sole candidate in the ballot, 63-year-old Alar Karis, failed to secure the necessary majority of votes. 

Karis, director of the Estonian National Museum, received 63 votes in the secret ballot. 

There were 16 empty ballots and no invalid ballots.

A candidate in the parliamentary round needs the votes of at least two-thirds of all members of the 101-seat chamber, meaning 68 votes, to get elected.

"Tomorrow's another day," Karis told reporters.

A total of 94 MPs had turned up for the extraordinary sitting of the parliament, whose sole agenda item was the vote on the presidential candidate.

Karis was nominated by all 25 members of the parliament’s Center Party group and all 34 members of the Reform Party group.

Center and Reform make up the two-party coalition governing Estonia.

Reform Party veteran politician and former chairman of the party Siim Kallas, who is known to be in hospital, did not take part in the vote for health reasons.

Isamaa and a second opposition party, the Social Democratic Party, had previously said their MPs are free to vote as they wish. The Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE), the largest opposition force, has been rallying support for its own candidate, former parliamentary speaker Henn Polluaas.

Following Mondays vote, lawmakers will make a new attempt at electing the president in a  second ballot to be held at noon on Tuesday, candidates for which can be submitted from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the same day.

If no candidate receives the required majority in the second round of voting, a runoff will be held on the same day between the two candidates who receive the greatest number of votes in the second round. If the president is still not elected in the third round of voting, the speaker of the Riigikogu will, within one month, convene an electoral college made up of MPs and local government representatives to elect the president.