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Estonia's Two Biggest Parities Lead Polls as Estonians Prepare to Vote


The two largest political parties in Estonia look poised to stay in power, according to opinion polls ahead of Sunday's parliamentary election. It will be the world's first parliamentary election to accept ballots over the Internet.

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip's center-right Reform Party and the left-leaning Center Party led by former prime minister, Edgar Savisaar, have topped most of the recent opinion surveys in the Baltic country.

The two parties are senior partners in the current three-party coalition government with the agrarian Estonian People's Union.

One issue in the campaign is a Soviet-era war memorial. The ethnic Estonian majority sees it as a symbol of Russian occupation, while the Russian-speaking minority wants to keep it in the center of the capital.

Many analysts say that the monument issue is not likely to split the ruling coalition. They say this election is about economy.

Estonia has been a member of the European Union since 2004. It has experienced a healthy economic growth since then, reaching a rate of 11 and a half percent last year.

Some 30-thousand voters have already cast their ballots through the Internet during a three-day period that ended Wednesday. Electoral officials say there were no problems. They said the system proved to be reliable during 2005 municipal elections.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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