April 17, 2019 / 3:06 PM / 2 months ago

Estonian parliament gives Center's Ratas nod to lead 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 Center 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 center-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 Center, 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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