Estonia president names young minister to form new government

STOCKHOLM Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:31am EDT

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Estonia's President Toomas Hendrik Ilves nominated a 34-year-old cabinet minister on Friday to form a new government and seek approval from parliament to lead the small euro zone country.

Taavi Roivas is set to take over from Estonia's longest serving Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, who resigned on March 4 in a long-planned move to pave the way for his successor to lead a new government into a general election next year.

Ansip's center-right coalition has been struggling in polls amid signs of voter fatigue at years of a government focused on fiscal austerity as well as several high profile party funding scandals. The center-left opposition has been gaining popularity.

Roivas' Reform Party has 33 seats in the 101 seat house and is expected to form a coalition government with the center-left Social Democrats, who have 19 seats to give the new government a slim 2 seat majority in the house.

The new government is expected to continue the tight fiscal policies of his predecessor.

After reaching a coalition agreement, Roivas and his proposed cabinet have to be approved by parliament before taking up office.

Ansip held office with three coalition governments since April 2005, and said two years ago he would not form another government.

Ansip's government stayed in place in 2011 elections even after the country's economic output had fallen by 14 percent in 2009 due to the global financial crisis and the collapse of a real estate price bubble fuelled by cheap and easy credit from Nordic banks.

(Reporting by David Mardiste; Editing by Alistair Scrutton)

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