Estonia's ruling coalition set to form gov't with Conservatives

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TALLINN, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Estonia's current ruling coalition, consisting of the Estonian Center Party and Pro Patria (Isamaa), is expected to form a new coalition with the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), local media reported Saturday.

The Center, EKRE and Isamaa had won 26, 19 and 12 seats in the second, third and fourth place respectively, after the Estonian Reform Party's 34 seats out of the total 101 seats in the Estonian parliamentary election held on March 3.

In a joint statement, the extended boards of the three runner-up parties said they supported the formation of a coalition and negotiations were underway, the Estonian Public Broadcasting Corporation reported.

"Estonia must be a country with an increasing population, one that is protected, developing, secure, and with a competitive economy, where the Estonian language and culture are preserved," the statement said.

Earlier in the day, Center Party chairman and the incumbent prime minister Juri Ratas admitted that the three parties have severe ideological differences and talks have been difficult, but the parties to the proceedings have the will to find common ground.

Meanwhile, chairwoman of the Estonian Reform Party Kaja Kallas called on the Center Party to reconsider the possibility of cooperating with the Reform party in forming a coalition government after her first offer was rejected. Enditem

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