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Kallas Re-elected as Estonian Prime Minister, Pro-Ukraine Stance Intact

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The incumbent prime minister of Estonia and one of Europe’s most outspoken supporters of Ukraine Kaja Kallas won the general election in the Baltic country on Sunday.

Kallas, leader of the right-wing Reform Party, fought a populist far-right challenger in a vote focused on national security and the economy.

Preliminary results from a full vote count showed the Islah party, the senior partner in the outgoing three-party coalition government, with 31.2% of the vote – the largest share in Sunday’s election.

That translates to 37 seats in Estonia’s 101-seat Parliament, or Riigikogu, an increase of three seats from the 2019 election.

“This result, which is not yet final, will give us a strong mandate to form a good government,” Klass told her party colleagues and cheering supporters at a hotel in the capital, Tallinn.

Klass, prime minister since 2021, has faced a challenge from the far-right populist party EKRE, which seeks to reduce the Baltic nation’s exposure to Russia’s war in Ukraine, and blames the current government for high inflation in Estonia.

EKRE finished second with 16.1% of the vote and 17 seats in the legislature, down two seats from four years ago. The Center Party, traditionally favored by Estonia’s large ethnic Russian minority, came third with 15.3% of the vote.

The biggest surprise of the election, when more than 900,000 people were eligible to vote, was the emergence of Eesti 200, a small centrist liberal party, which won 14 seats and 13.3% of the vote.

National security in the aftermath of neighboring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and social and economic issues, particularly the rising cost of living, were major themes of the campaign.

Preliminary results indicated that six parties crossed the 5% threshold of support needed to be in parliament.

The voter turnout reached 63.7%, which is equal to the previous elections, according to preliminary information.

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