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Estonia's ruling pro-NATO coalition 'wins' tight election


Estonia

Estonia's ruling pro-NATO coalition 'wins' tight election

Europe’s youngest prime minister Taavi Roivas has claimed victory in Estonia after his pro-NATO party took the lead in Sunday’s general election.

Roivas who is 35 years old, is head of the centre-right Reform Party which is the senior partner in the country’s current coalition. After two-thirds of the votes had been counted, the party had polled around 29 percent.

Opposition leader Edgar Savisaar and his pro-Kremlin Centre Party were trailing on 21 percent.

Savisaar is urging closer ties with Moscow, claiming it will provide better security for Estonia.

The final tally is not clear cut since counting hasn’t yet finished in several areas which are expected to back Savissaar. However even if the margins narrow, pollsters still anticipate the two ruling coalition parties will combine and come out ahead.

Ethnic Russians make up a quarter of Estonia’s population

The election is being viewed as a measure of how ethnic Russians which make up a quarter of Estonia’s population feel about the crisis in Ukraine.

Under Reform-led coalitions, Estonia has been one of the few NATO members to keep defence spending as high as 2 percent of GDP.

Estonia has been a eurozone member since 2011 and has the lowest public sector debt in the EU.

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