kolmapäev, august 16, 2006

Is Rüütel's Victory Assured?

So the consensus thought out there is that Arnold will be in office until 2011 because, although he usually polls a distant third in online presidential polls, the minority in parliament - Keskerakond and Eestimaa Rahvaliit - have decided to take their chances on an electoral college where it is supposedly common knowledge that Arnold will prevail.

I don't think Arnold Rüütel is a bad president. But I do think that the majority of Estonians would prefer Toomas Hendrik Ilves this year. He out polls everybody. He is the popular favorite. And in a democracy, don't you owe it to your constituents to give them what they want?

As I was saying about Savisaar, I've been wrong about him. I used to think he was a shrewd, calculating politician looking to build his own party. And yeah, sure Estonia needs a Center Left to balance out its young, rightwing turks. But Ilves is a social democrat. He is neither young nor rightwing. His leadership, backed by the people and the majority of parliament (save about one guaranteed vote) should be a no-brainer in this election. But in Savisaar world, the popular voice is his voice. The popular interest is his interest. It's like the rest of Estonia doesn't exist.

The Baltic Times didn't mince its words in this week's lead editorial -

Once again, “Rhino” Savisaar, who conducted parallel negotiations with leading parties to shortlist presidential candidates, has shown that he is less interested in the development of Estonia than with his own selfish, partisan interests. (Psychologically this puts him in the same odious league as Latvia’s Aivars Lembergs and Lithuania’s Viktor Uspaskich.) As always, he wanted to show himself the kingmaker, that he is the court of final appeal. But for many Estonians, and non-Estonians too, he has come off looking like the narrow-minded fool.

People are mad about it, sure. But is Rüütel's election really sealed? In 2001, Rüütel could only muster a bare majority in the Valimiskogu (the 367 member electoral college). That is, he won with 50.1 percent of the vote. I can find no link that tells me who is a member of the Valimiskogu. That in itself is why it is bad and undemocratic - it answers to nobody. They can vote for a candidate - Rüütel - that would lose badly in a popular vote, and still hang onto their jobs.

But still, if he won with only 50 percent in 2001, why does everyone think that he'll scrape by five years later?

7 kommentaari:

cbr ütles ...

The Electoral College (Valimiskogu) consists of all members of the parliament plus representatives of all municipality councils.
It's actually a paragraph of the constitution:

§ 79.


Kui Vabariigi Presidenti ei valita ka kolmandas hääletusvoorus, kutsub Riigikogu esimees ühe kuu jooksul Vabariigi Presidendi valimiseks kokku valimiskogu.
Valimiskogu koosneb Riigikogu liikmetest ja kohalike omavalitsuste volikogude esindajatest. Iga kohaliku omavalitsuse volikogu valib valimiskogusse vähemalt ühe esindaja, kes peab olema Eesti kodanik.
Riigikogu esitab valimiskogule presidendikandidaadiks kaks Riigikogus enim hääli saanud kandidaati. Presidendikandidaadi ülesseadmise õigus on ka vähemalt kahekümne ühel valimiskogu liikmel.
Valimiskogu valib Vabariigi Presidendi hääletamisest osavõtnud valimiskogu liikmete häälteenamusega. Kui esimeses voorus ükski kandidaat ei osutu valituks, korraldatakse samal päeval kahe enim hääli saanud kandidaadi vahel teine hääletusvoor.


Inga ütles ...

Go, Ilves, go!
Don't you think bow-ties are kinda cute? ;)

Giustino ütles ...

The Electoral College (Valimiskogu) consists of all members of the parliament plus representatives of all municipality councils.

But most municipal websites don't list the party affiliations of those elected. And some places have local parties. So how can I figure out what that party make up is. And do people always vote party line? If so, then how come Rüütel only ot 50 percent in 2001?

Giustino ütles ...

Don't you think bow-ties are kinda cute? ;=

I think Ilves could do without the bow-tie, actually. I mean, it's his trademark - the guy with the kikilips - but I find it perhaps a touch too gay.

Inga ütles ...

There is nothing gay about kikilips, where did you get that? (let's set the terms right and I apologize if you meant "gay" as "merry") - I think it's his statement and the meaning as I get it is "always immaculate and always gentleman, no matter what". And - besides, it makes me smile each time I see it :-) Goal achieved.

Giustino ütles ...

I think I meant gay in the 1920s sense, not the 1970s sense.

Giustino ütles ...

But if these council members are known - then isn't it possible to lobby them - write them e-mails, call their offices - on behalf of whatever candidate you support?

That seems like the democratic way to do it.