April 17, 2019 / 3:07 PM / 5 months ago

Estonian parliament gives Centre's Ratas nod to lead government

Estonia's Prime Minister candidate Juri Ratas adresses Estonian Parliament in Tallinn, Estonia April 17, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

TALLINN (Reuters) - Estonia’s Centre party leader Juri Ratas secured parliament’s support on Wednesday to continue as prime minister and form a new government that will bring a far-right party into the cabinet for the first time.

Ratas secured support from 55 lawmakers in parliament, exceeding the 51 votes required to form a new government and continue as prime minister.

Ratas, prime minister since late 2016, lost a March 3 election in which the centre-right Reform Party emerged the largest party.

Ratas blocked Reform’s leader Kaja Kallas from taking power by agreeing a surprise coalition between his left-leaning Centre, the conservative Fatherland party and the far-right EKRE, giving the three parties a majority in parliament.

Reporting by Tarmo Virki, editing by Anna Ringstrom and Susan Fenton

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