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Ilves wins second term as Estonian president

29.08.2011

Incumbent President Toomas Hendrik Ilves secured a second five-year term as the country's head of state in the first round of presidential vote by the parliament on Monday. 57-year-old Ilves was supported by 73 deputies in the 101-seat chamber at the extraordinary session of the Riigikogu that started at 1 p.m. The rival candidate, MEP Indrek Tarand, collected 25 votes. Two ballots were declared invalid because voting marks had been placed in the boxes of both candidates, and one ballot paper was empty. All 101 MPs took part in the vote.

President Toomas Hendrik IlvesIlves had been nominated by 75 MPs from the ruling Reform/IRL coalition and the opposition Social Democrats, while Tarand, 47-year-old non-partisan MEP, had been nominated by 26 deputies from Center. The election outcome leaves Ilves short of two votes compared with the number of MPs that nominated him and shows that at least one deputy who signed Tarand's nomination did not vote for him.

The president is elected in parliament if any one candidate secures the votes of at least two-thirds, or 68, Riigikogu members. Had lawmakers failed to elect the president on Monday, a second round of voting and a runoff would have taken place in parliament. If no presidential candidate gets the required majority of votes in parliament, the task of electing the head of state will pass to an electoral college made up of members of parliament and local council representatives.

Toomas Hendrik Ilves was born in Stockholm on Dec. 26, 1953. He is married to Evelin Ilves. Toomas Hendrik Ilves has three children: Luukas Kristjan, born in 1987, Juulia Kristiine, born in 1992, and Kadri Keiu, born in 2003. Ilves grew up in the United States and was educated as a psychologist, attending and receiving degrees from Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania and then working in academic positions.

Before being elected president Ilves was member of the European Parliament from 2004 onwards. He was member of the Estonian parliament from 2002-2004, minister of foreign affairs from 1999-2002, chairman of the supervisory board of the North Atlantic Institute in 1998, foreign minister from 1996-1998, Estonia's ambassador to the United States, Canada and Mexico from 1993-1996, head of the Estonian desk of Radio Free Europe (RFE) from 1988-1993, and analyst and researcher with the institute of RFE in Munich from 1984-1988.

Ilves was elected president of Estonia for the first time by an electoral college on Sept. 23, 2006 and was sworn in on Oct. 9 the same year.

Baltic News Service

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