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The Estonian parliament elected the head of a large national museum as the new president of the Baltic country in a second ballot after being rejected by lawmakers in the first ballot on Monday.

Lawmakers in the 101-seat Riigikogu Legislative Assembly on Tuesday elected Alar Karis, director of the Estonian National Museum, with 72 MPs to support him, 8 blank votes and the others absent or abstaining. He was the only candidate in both rounds, but failed to secure the necessary two-thirds support, or 68 votes, in Monday’s first secret ballot.

Karis, 63, former state auditor and university director, will succeed President Kersti Kaljulaid, Estonia’s first woman president. She was unable to seek a new five-year term as she failed to secure a minimum of 21 lawmakers to nominate her.

The prime minister holds most of the power in Estonia, a member of the European Union and NATO with 1.3 million people, while the president’s role is largely ceremonial – including representing the nation at abroad and act as a national opinion leader.

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

Karis will take office on October 11, according to initial information.


The Independent Gt

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