Estonia is failing to elect a new President.
An un-ceremonial office
The shoes of Toomas Hendrik Ilves seem too big to fill, having served for two consecutive five-year terms, since 2006. The incumbent President of Estonia has the skill to understand policy and navigate the world of politics; his distinctive bow tie always made him a photo opportunity favorite.
During his terms in office, the President of Estonia was not a “ceremonial” post; perhaps, that is why finding a replacement is proving more difficult than usual.
Estonia seems unwilling to swap him for anyone else. President Toomas Hendrik Ilves told the Baltic Times he wants the next President to be elected and the constitutional “roller-coaster” to come to an end.
The failing process
The President of Estonia needs a two-third majority to be elected. The magic number is 167.
Members of Parliament (Riigikogu) vote in two successive ballots. That happened in August. If that does not work, an electoral body is convened consisting of MPs and members of local government. That happened on Tuesday.
For the third time, Estonian MPs did not manage to reach the two-thirds semi-consensus on a single candidate.
That is a first, and it is the unbundling of a political crisis. Now, the process goes back to the beginning on October 3.
Until Tuesday, there were two candidates. None of them could achieve two-third majority, largely because political parties were unwilling to extend bipartisan consensus.
The first is known to the European Union Institutions. Siim Kallas is a former European Commissioner endorsed by the Center Party with 138 votes. The other is Allar Joks who was supported by IRL and the Free Party with 134 votes.
Kallas is dropping out from the race; and Joks has also said he would be dropping out the race. New candidates must be picked in less than a week.