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Estonia elects museum director as president in 2nd try


TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Estonia’s Parliament has elected the chief of a major national museum as the Baltic country’s new president in a second round of voting after he was rejected by lawmakers in Monday's first voting round.

Lawmakers at the 101-seat Riigikogu legislature on Tuesday elected Alar Karis, director of the Estonian National Museum with 72 lawmakers supporting him, 8 voting blank and the rest absent or abstaining. He was the only candidate in both rounds, but failed to achieve the necessary two-thirds support, or 68 votes, in Monday's first secret ballot.

The 63-year-old Karis, a former state auditor and university head, will succeed President Kersti Kaljulaid, Estonia’s first female president. She could not seek another five-year term in office because she failed to obtain a minimum of 21 lawmakers to propose her as a candidate.

The prime minister holds most power in Estonia, a European Union and NATO member of 1.3 million people, while the role of the president is largely ceremonial — including representing the nation abroad and acting as a domestic opinion leader.

But the president’s powers include being the supreme commander of Estonia’s armed forces, formally appointing government members and signing laws to make them valid. The president also has the authority to veto law proposals.

Karis is to assume the post on Oct. 11 according to initial information.

The Associated Press

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