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Estonian PM's party handily beats far right

Kallas's centre-right Reform Party won 31.6 percent of the vote

06 March, 08:30
(ANSA-AFP) - TALLINN, MAR 6 - Prime Minister Kaja Kallas's centre-right Reform Party won Estonia's general election by a wide margin on Sunday, according to near-complete results, beating out a far-right rival that had campaigned against further arms deliveries to Ukraine. Reform won 31.6 percent of the vote, with right-wing runners-up EKRE taking 16 percent. In order to stay in power, Reform will again have to form a coalition with one or more of the parties in the Baltic state's 101-seat parliament. The Centre Party secured 14.7 percent of Sunday's ballot, Estonia 200 got 13.5 percent, the Social Democrats received 9.4 percent and the Isamaa (Fatherland) party 8.3 percent. "This is much better than we expected," Kallas said of the result. "We have ruled out a coalition with EKRE and I stand by my words." EKRE leader Martin Helme suggested on election night that Reform "stole" the election. "We didn't do anything wrong. We did everything right and with honesty, unlike those who stole our well-deserved victory," he said. Reform is a centre-right liberal party that appeals to business owners and young professionals. It has promised to raise military spending to at least three percent of GDP and ease taxes on business, and wants to pass a law approving same-sex civil partnerships. EKRE, meanwhile, had campaigned against additional military aid to Kyiv, called for a halt in Ukrainian refugee arrivals and for lower immigration rates to protect local workers. The electoral commission must still verify the results, but if confirmed, Reform will win 37 seats -- three more than they did four years ago. (ANSA-AFP).

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