Well folks, today is the day that Toomas-Hendrik Ilves, the man that sold Estonia as "the world's only post-communist Nordic country", gets his 64 votes from the Riigikogu. Like Oliver Twist, Ilves will look up and say, "Please sir, may I have some more?" But most likely there will be none.
The greatest criticisms of Ilves are that he is arrogant and he was raised in the US. He therefore does not "know" rural Estonia although he lives there with his wife and children. That very well may be. But it is also true that over the past five years, Arnold Rüütel has remained mostly invisible on an international level. When he speaks he says little, if he can be bothered to speak at all.
In reality he hasn't even campaigned for office this year. He has sat there as useful vanilla, void of any flavor. Rüütel is smarter than he comes across and I think his patient hand has been useful at times. But why should he now be chosen over someone that has actively campaigned for the position and enjoys the majority of popular support? That is baffling to anyone acquainted with reason.
Maybe some of the boys at Keskerakond will defect today. Or maybe the valimiskogu will be so disgusted with Savisaar and Reiljan that they will reject their nominee. Not to sound optimistic - we all know that in days like these it is best to suppress optimism about the future of the Estonian presidency - but this is not yet a done deal.