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Estonia president turns to Ratas to form a government

FILE PHOTO: Estonia's Prime Minister Juri Ratas attends the opening session of newly elected Estonian Parliament in Tallinn, Estonia April 4, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo

TALLINN (Reuters) - Estonia’s president turned on Tuesday to Centre leader Juri Ratas to form a new government - a move that will likely bring a far-right party into the cabinet for the first time.

“Now it is a task for Juri Ratas to form a government which as a whole, and whose every member individually, honours our constitution and the values which are in our constitution,” President Kersti Kaljulaid said in a statement.

Estonia’s parliament rejected the leader of the centre-right Reform Party, Kaja Kallas, as prime minister on Monday. Kallas got 45 votes, while she needed 51 votes to form a government and become the country’s first female prime minister.

Former prime minister Ratas had blocked Reform’s path to 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 in Tallinn; editing by Niklas Pollard