Estonia's parliament fails to elect new president

Estonia's legislature passed on the task of picking a head of state to an electoral college

TALLINN, Estonia — Estonia’s parliament has failed to elect a new president in three rounds of voting and has passed on the task of picking a head of state to an electoral college.

The voting process started Monday and ended Tuesday with a runoff between former prime minister and European Union commissioner Siim Kallas and former education minister Mailis Reps.

Kallas beat Reps with 42 votes against 26, but that wasn’t enough because a candidate needs the backing of 68 of the 101 lawmakers to win the presidency.

An electoral college made up of the lawmakers and over 200 municipal officials must now pick the head of state in a vote planned for Sept. 24. A majority of just over 50 per cent is enough to win.

Kallas and Reps will automatically become contenders in that election but other candidates can register too.

The winner will replace President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who is stepping down in October after serving two five-year terms.

The Baltic country’s governing three-party coalition has been divided over who should become the next president, a mostly ceremonial post.

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