TALLINN - Estonia's two parliamentary presidential candidates - Ene Ergma and Toomas Henrik Ilves 's have used a radio address to urge the nation's politicians to fulfill their duty and vote in the parliament today, Monday August 28.
Parliament is scheduled to meet today to vote for the office of president, however it is widely expected that members of the People's Union and Center Party will not participate in the poll. The two aligned parties have agreed to support incumbent president Arnold Ruutel 's a decision that means the parliamentary electoral system is likely to fail.
Ergma said it was important that members of parliament observed their constitutional obligations to vote.
"Centrists and members of the People's Union, please come into the hall and vote against me if this is required from you. But please do come to the ballot box," said Ergma, member of the Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica.
Ergma said the parliament should be a model for all Estonian people and if members of parliament ignore the constitutional obligation of electing the president, they could not expect ordinary people to abide by the law either.
Social Democrat Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who will be presented as the second presidential candidate if Ergma does not receive two-thirds of the votes, appealed to the leaders of the two parties to pull their members into line.
"It is their work to be member of parliament and they have been elected there in order to represent the Estonian people and this is their primary function. They have the mandate of the people and they have to be trusted," Ilves said.
Ilves admitted that in all likelihood, neither he nor Ergma would manage to persuade members of the Center Party and the People's Union to change their minds. "But I am conviced that â€¦ Estonian electors will not forget that there are people who didn't observe their constitutional function," Ilves said.