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Kersti Kaljulaid elected next president of Estonia

TALLINN, Oct. 4 — Kersti Kaljulaid was elected as president of Estonia by the parliament on Monday, after months of political stalemate, the Estonian Broadcasting Corporation (ERR) reported.

Kaljulaid won 81 votes in the 101-member parliament, according to ERR. A minimum of or 68 votes, or 2/3 of the parliamentary seats, was required.

Kaljulaid will become the country's first female president. She is the Estonian representative to the European Court of Auditors.

Kaljulaid won the opportunity after rounds of voting failed to produce a winner.

On Saturday, a 335-member electoral body could not elect a new president, as neither former prime minister and former EU commissioner Siim Kallas nor former education minister Mailis Reps won the necessary majority of votes.

The election then passed on back to the Riigikogu, the Estonian parliament, which proved unable to elect a president in the previous voting. Both Kallas and Joks said they would not run anymore.

Kaljulaid turned out to be the only hopeful when things got complicated.

Prior to the voting on Monday, she achieved 90 signatures in the parliament and thus was the only nominee of the candidate for president. At least 21 signatures are needed for a person to be nominated to run for the president, according to Estonian law.

ERR said Kaljulaid will be sworn into office on Oct. 10. The term is five years.

Born in 1969 in Tartu, eastern Estonia, Kaljulaid became economic adviser to the then prime minister Mart Laar at the age of 30. She also had contact with the International Monetary Fund.

Later she became director of the state-owned energy company Eesti Energia's Iru Power Plant, and took a number of other positions. In 2004, she became a member of the European Court of Auditors. (PNA/Xinhua)


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