The political scientist admitted that it is currently difficult to predict the outcome of the first vote, however, it is quite likely that none of the three candidates will receive a majority of votes, taking into account the reticent attitude of the National Union (NA) towards Rinkēvičas in the position of President and possible negotiations on the formation of another government.
In Rosenvald’s view, in the first vote, the candidate promoted by “Progressives”, public management expert Elina Pinto, has the least chance of getting the position of the country’s first person. It can be assumed that the goal of “Progressives” was not to achieve Pinto’s election as president, but to make him more visible to the public in order to try to run in the upcoming European Parliament elections, the expert estimated. This allows us to think that “Progressives” could support the JV candidate in further votes.
There is also a possibility that the candidate of the “Joint List” (AS), businessman Uldis Pīlēns, will be elected with “deep opposition” votes in further voting rounds. Rozenvalds called for a separation of the situation in which “Stability” and the Union of Greens and Farmers (ZZS) are. Although both political forces belong to the opposition, there are significant differences between them. The political scientist pointed out that ZZS will not benefit much if the party supports Pilens’ candidacy, while the reward for JV’s support could be entry into the government.
“These are reflections, real life can make corrections. It can be predicted quite reliably that none of the candidates will be elected in the first ballot. The votes of the “Progressives” are needed in the elections, but the “Progressives” will not give up their candidate in the first election,” said the professor of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the LU .
Asked about the reasons that prevent the parties from agreeing on who will be the first person of the country for the next four years, Rosenvalds noted that one of the problems is the order of presidential elections, because the elections are too closely connected with the coalition, especially with the expressed opinions of politicians that the president must be elected with the support of coalition parties.
He explained that in Estonia, for example, neither Pilens nor Pinto could run for the position of president. In a neighboring country, the right to nominate a presidential candidate is not less than a fifth of the composition of the Rīga Kogi. Therefore, in Estonia, it cannot be the case that ten people nominate their candidate. Rozenvalds explained that the Estonian presidential election system requires that the parties must agree in advance, and the president cannot be elected only with the votes of a coalition.
The second reason that affects the possibilities of agreement is the composition of the coalition, because it has never been said that the parties of the coalition do not get along very well. The coalition partners probably have two candidates in mind: JV-promoted Rinkēvičs, who NA is not very enthusiastic about, while AS is promoting its own candidate – Pīlena. This is also where the close connection between the coalition and the presidential election appears.
As for why NA opposes Rinkēvičas as the next President of the State, Rozenvalds explained that NA is a defender of traditional values, perhaps some discomfort is caused by the foreign minister’s sexual orientation. Although Rinkēvičs has successfully implemented the country’s foreign policy interests, there is a possibility that the National Assembly has a different assessment of his statements regarding issues affecting domestic policy.
Last year, in connection with the events at the monument in Victory Park on May 9 and May 10, NA demanded the resignation of the then Minister of Internal Affairs, Marija Golubeva (AP). In the opinion of the professor, NA demanded his resignation for political reasons. It was not a reaction to any real problems in the work of the State Police. Rinkevičs said then that we should think about the political categories of the nation, and not try to further divide the society.
“Political nation is a concept that is very foreign to NA politicians. Yes, in foreign policy Rinkēvičs has implemented a strict position. He has worked successfully as a minister of foreign affairs. However, he has his own position on issues related to domestic policy and in many cases it does not coincide with NA,” said the expert.
On the other hand, if you also keep in mind the possible closer cooperation between the JV and the “Progressives”, then there is a question about both the ratification of the Istanbul Convention and the Civil Union Law. Also taking into account these aspects, NA’s attitude towards Rinkēvičs is restrained and without great enthusiasm.
“This makes me think that in the first elections NA will not vote for any of the candidates, because they do not have their own candidate. Their candidate was Levits, who diligently fulfilled everything according to NA’s guidelines. Rinkevičs is a politician of a different nature, with different positions, which are different from Levits ,” said the political scientist.
Asked how successful the solution would be if Rinkēvičs, Pinto and Pīlēns will also be candidates for the position of president in the second round, the professor of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the LU stated that the competition is likely to continue with only two – Rinkēvičs and Pīlēns. The law does not impose an obligation to look for another candidate. It is up to the applicant himself and the political power that nominates him.
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