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Center-Right Reform Party Wins Estonian Election

Chairwoman of the Reform Party Kaja Kallas speaks at her party headquarters after a parliamentary elections in Tallinn, Estonia, Sunday, March 3, 2019.

Estonia's center-right Reform Party, winner of the parliamentary election Sunday, has vowed to exclude a far-right populist party from negotiation talks to form a governing coalition.

Reform, led by former lawmaker Kaja Kallas, won 28.8 percent of the vote, followed by Prime Minister Juri Ratas' Center Party with 23.1 percent.

Reform, which held the prime minister's chair from 2005 until 2016 – sometimes by itself and sometimes in a coalition with the Center Party – will have to team up with another party to form the government since it does not have a parliamentary majority on its own.

Reform backs a liberal economic policy while the Center Party has the support of Estonia's sizable Russian-speaking minority.

Both parties had sworn to keep the far-right anti-immigrant Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) – which won 17.8 percent Sunday – out of a ruling coalition. EKRE more than doubled its number of seats.

Two other parties – the Social Democrats and the conservative Isamaa Party – also won seats Sunday.