TALLINN - Leaders of Estonian parliamentary parties are to hold a virtual meeting on Friday on the topic of presidential elections, Postimees reports.
Leader of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) Indrek Saar said that this is the first time all parliamentary parties are discussing the issue together.
"Just like the majority of our society, we also find that this process has proved overly lengthy. The issue could have been discussed in a broader circle a long time ago," he said.
It has been speculated in the media that leader of the Center Party Juri Ratas, who organized the meeting, is to put president of Estonian Academy of Sciences Tarmo Soomere forward for the position of the head of state. The leader of the junior partner in the government coalition remained tight-lipped, however.
"I will not speculate with any names before the end of this meeting," Ratas said.
Soomere was not willing to confirm or refute any rumors, either.
"This is where I need to practice the language of politicians -- I am looking forward to tomorrow with great interest," Soomere told Postimees on Thursday.
Ratas said that the agenda of the meeting is about the current situation in presidential elections and the future course thereof, and not about introducing a specific candidate.
"I want us to work with a plan that enables electing the president on Aug. 30 when an extraordinary sitting of the parliament is to be held. This requires intense and good cooperation between all parties," he said.
Two opposition parties, SDE and Isamaa, told Postimees that they are ready to look for common ground and that they believe it is still possible to elect the head of state at the end of August.
"We cannot rule out anything. The presidential election will not take much time in the parliament. The issue is that the public and political parties would like to know the potential candidate as soon as possible," leader of Isamaa Helir-Valdor Seeder said.
The opposition Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) does not believe that the president will be elected in the parliament and in any case, they would not support Soomere's possible candidacy.
"Juri Ratas set up Tarmo Soomere's candidacy already last fall during the previous government coalition. We didn't like him then and we don't like him now," leader of the party Martin Helme said.
EKRE will nonetheless participate in the meeting in which it will be represented by deputy chairman Mart Helme.
Postimees was unable to get a comment from Reform Party chair Kaja Kallas.