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Estonia's governing party wins parliamentary election

The governing Reform Party in Estonia has won the parliamentary election, official results showed. The country has been dominated by economic issues and security concerns amid the instability in Ukraine.

"The Reform Party is the 2015 winner of the parliamentary elections," Prime Minister Taavi Roivas declared on ETV public television.

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves was expected to invite the prime minister to form a coalition with his 30 seats in the 101-member parliament. Roivas is likely to continue his partnership with the Social Democrats, who were also part of the previous government.

More than 63 percent of Estonia's 1.3 million-strong population participated in Sunday's polls. Results showed the Reform Party leading with 29 percent of votes while its coalition partners, the Social Democrats, won 16 percent. The leftist Center Party, which has a huge support base in Estonia's ethnic Russian population, received 21 percent of the votes.

Estonians voted amid impending tax reforms and fears that Russia could try and boost its influence in the country, which was a part of the Soviet Union for nearly five decades.

All the country's political parties spoke out for strong defense spending, despite Tallinn's membership of NATO and the European Union. Defense Minister Sven Mikser said on Sunday that Estonia needed to develop its defense capabilities to "maintain solidarity with Western nations."

mg/bk (AFP, Reuters)

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