Estonian Lawmakers Approve Second Term for President Ilves

Estonian lawmakers re-elected President Toomas Ilves for a second five-year term, strengthening political stability in the Baltic nation.

Ilves was backed by 73 lawmakers in the 101-seat legislature, the Riigikogu, in Tallinn today, reaching the required two-thirds majority. He is the first candidate since Estonia regained independence in 1991 to be elected in the first round of voting.

“It was a historic decision as you have for the first time used your privilege to elect the president in parliament as stipulated in the constitution,” Ilves told lawmakers after the vote. “This shows Estonia’s maturity, it’s coming of age.”

Ilves, 57, who was born in Stockholm, in 2006 became Estonia’s third elected president since the end of Soviet rule. Educated at Columbia University, he ran the Estonian desk of Radio Free Europe during communism and later served twice as foreign minister.

The opposition Social Democrats last week joined the governing coalition of the Reform Party and Isamaa ja Res Publica Liit in backing Ilves. The opposition Center Party put forward Indrek Tarand, a member of the European Parliament, as its candidate.

Political Stability

Political stability in the Baltic nation of 1.3 million, which this year became the first former Soviet republic to adopt the euro, increased after March general elections returned the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Andrus Ansip to power, Ilves said last week.

The country, with the fastest-growing economy in the European Union in the first half of the year, should now focus on improving the quality of life of citizens and the functioning of the state, mainly through infrastructure investment, he said then.

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