The Center Party board met for an extraordinary session today to discuss further plans, including the collection of signatures for nominating incumbent Arnold Ruutel for president in the electoral college.
Ain Seppik, chairman of the Center Party's parliamentary faction, told the Baltic News Service that the board discussed Estonia's current political situation, supported Arnold Ruutel, the party's presidential candidate, and proposed collecting signatures for his nomination in the electoral college. Seppik said the Centrists would cooperate in the collection of signatures with their partner, the People's Union.
He added that there had been no mention among Center Party members on whether or not they thought Ruutel would win. "But we hope Ruutel will be elected in the first round," he said.
Speaker of the Estonian parliament Toomas Varek called an electoral college; the session of the 347-member body will open at 12:00 on Sept. 23 in the Estonia concert hall.
Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who failed to be elected in the third parliamentary round of voting, will be automatically nominated as candidate and also the incumbent head of state, Arnold Ruutel, supported by the Center Party and the People's Union, is likely to be nominated.
The electoral college has been called since neither of the two candidates nominated, Ene Ergma and Toomas Hendrik Ilves, managed to collect the 68 votes required in the 101-seat parliament.
Ergma, who ran in the first round of elections on Aug. 28, was supported by 65 members of parliament, while Toomas Hendrik Ilves, nominated as the only candidate in the second and third rounds on Aug. 29, collected 64 votes in his favor in both the rounds.