Janek Mäggi: Why is no one fit to serve as Estonian president? or Every play features an unremarked character who bursts out of the closet right on cue

The curtain is about to go up as the tragicomedy No One Is Fit to Serve as Estonian President! enters its final act. For the moment we are still enjoying the intermission; the theatre-goers are being plied with coffee and cognac lest they walk out before the show is over. Many bear the jaded expressions of those who no longer understand the ways or meaning of theatre.

They are confused, because the tragicomedy is being staged in the same place as another play, Serafima & Bogdan – the actors giving the same performances twice every night, with the audience watching them first on one stage, then the other. Their returning to it having exited stage right is inevitable, since they each play a number of roles in the same show.

It is hard to understand why whispers of discontent are rippling through the crowd. Why are candidates only being wheeled out at the last minute? Why are respected figures refusing to throw their hats into the ring? Why are seemingly suitable candidates being turned down? Why aren’t the political parties working together? And what of procedure in all this?!

The show being acted out is full of twists and turns. The players are at the top of their game; their performances perfectly pitched. The words coming out of their mouths deserve all sorts of awards. Production of the year, without a doubt!

The fact that some of the dramatis personae are killed off in the first act isn’t unusual. As in the best Nordic noir, the denouement should be anything but predictable. Blood must fly. Heads must roll. Those watching on must be biting their nails at all times, worried that the mystery will never be solved. But it will be.

Just as surely as the role of Estonian head of state will be cast. The more excitement and uncertainty politicians can inject into the situation the better! That is what we want, after all. If we started a crime novel from the final page, there would be no point reading the first half of it.

There is a long time yet until the elections. Three whole weeks! More than enough time to vet an entire government’s worth of candidates, set people’s heads spinning about who will be taking the reins of the country for the next half a decade and finally electing someone who bathes one half of the population in a rainbow of joy and fuels the other half with an electrifying sense of disappointment.
The Estonian parliament has acted entirely ethically: unlike five years ago, no one has been harangued; no one has been jerked around; no one has been given false hope that they might be installed as head of state. Respectable people have been treated with respect.

The pointless interviews and debates that have never been held, the tomes that have gone unpublished and the door-stepping that people all over the country have been spared have done wonders for the environment, which is the true green deal of these presidential elections. Everyone in Estonia approves!

Because why pose questions in a public forum of someone who feels they have what it takes to be the next president but whom those charged with the task of electing the head of state clearly deem unfit for office? It would be a wild goose chase. The Estonian parliament does not do what it does so that the media can decide which performance to put on, when and how it should be staged and whether or not the closet on it will be accompanied by any players.

And just as in any ground-breaking show, the very character no one even noticed go into the closet will burst out of it right on cue. Everything has gone perfectly so far, like a well-oiled machine: such a performance has been put on that the audience is speechless!

We have come to learn that no one is fit to serve as Estonia’s president. But the door to the closet is still closed, and we don’t know if there is anyone in there – or who might come out of it.