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Estonian Lawmakers Fail to Elect President in Three Ballots

Estonian lawmakers failed to elect a president in two rounds of voting Tuesday when European Parliament member Toomas Hendrik Ilves failed to win the required two-thirds margin.

In both rounds of voting, only 64 lawmakers backed the U.S.-educated social democrat, four short of the two-thirds needed to win.

The ballot was the third and final chance for the Estonian parliament to elect a president. In the first round on Monday, lawmakers rejected deputy speaker of parliament Ene Ergma, who received 65 votes. Two parties that back current President Arnold Ruutel for re-election boycotted all three votes.

The election will now come before an electoral college made up of 347 lawmakers and municipal leaders. Mr. Ruutel enjoys support among these groups and could win a second five-year term.

The electoral college vote is set for September 23.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.