Estonia on Monday is set to elect a new president to succeed Kersti Kaljulaid, who has been in office for the last five years. Presidential candidates are selected by political parties in the 101-seat parliament, Riigikogu.
A candidate needs the support of 21 MPs to proceed to the actual election. Since the support between possible candidates has been spread out among the five parties, the only contender this time around appears to be Alar Karis, the director of the Estonian National Museum and a former state auditor.
In the secret ballot, he will need 68 votes, a two-thirds majority. If the number of votes falls short, another round takes place the day after. In the event that no two-thirds majority is reached, an electoral college of 208 members will elect a president in September.
The role of the president in Estonia is largely ceremonial. And the drama preceding this year’s election has raised questions about whether a modern republic even needs a president, as most of the power lies in the hands of the prime minister.
Among the citizens, the most popular candidate would be the current president, Kersti Kaljulaid, who would be eligible for another five-year term. However, she has managed to anger many MPs, especially the populist EKRE party, by being active in domestic issues.