Toomas Hendrik Ilves, a Social Democrat and former foreign minister, has been elected to the largely ceremonial post. Ilves beat incumbent Arnold Rutel with 174 to 162 votes. The election win is likely to reinforce the small Baltic EU member’s pro-Western policies and its drive to adopt the Euro. The 52-year old President-elect said he wanted to bring his country closer to the heart of Europe and also to promote Estonia on the international scene.
He will receive US President George W. Bush in November – the first visit to the nation by an American head of state. Ilves will begin his five-year term on October 9th.