Sorainen has announced that Partner Allar Joks — who had been campaigning to become the President of Estonia since May — has returned to the firm’s Estonian office, Joks was one of two candidates who advanced to the final round of voting last Saturday, September 24, 2016, but neither of candidate received the number of votes required to become president. After four rounds of voting, the country remains without a head of state.
"I was glad to see that the values which I have stood for during my entire life – equal opportunities for all, justice, as well as honest policy making – received such strong support," Joks commented in a story on the Sorainen website. “I have been asked many times whether I will go into politics. The answer is no. My party is Sorainen." According to Sorainen, "the Estonian presidential election year has been exceptionally dramatic, with the country’s complicated election system coming under criticism and demand increasing for direct presidential elections. In the first attempt to elect a president in August, the parliament failed to elect anyone in two rounds of voting. Therefore, a second attempt occurred last Saturday, 24 September, when a 335-member electoral college from all over Estonia gathered to cast their ballots."
In the first round of the September 24 voting, Joks received the highest number of votes (83) out of the five candidates, and he and fellow candidate Siim Kallas, who received the second-most, advanced to the second round of voting. Sorainen reports that Joks said that this good result in the first round was a testament to the work that had gone into his campaign, as he spent the summer meeting with people across Estonia to discuss the needs of the country.
In the second round of voting, Joks received 134 votes and Kallas received 138 votes. As neither candidate received the required 168 votes to be elected, no president was chosen.
In addition to Joks and Kallas (the former Prime Minister and Vice-President of European Commission), other candidates included former Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand (who quit her minister’s post in order to run for President), Centre Party’s board member Mailis Reps, and Conservative People’s Party’s Chairman Mart Helme.
The Estonian presidential election now returns to the 101-member parliament that previously failed to agree on a president. The law requires that 68 ballots must be cast in favour of the winning candidate.
After Saturday’s proceedings, Allar told the media that he will not campaign again in the parliament, and would return to Sorainen. Joks, who is a Partner at Sorainen and head of the Government Relations & Administrative Law Team and head of the Tax & Customs Team in Estonia, specializes in constitutional and administrative law.