Museum director elected new Estonian president

By: AFP      Published: 06:51 PM, 31 Aug, 2021
Museum director elected new Estonian president

Estonia's parliament on Tuesday elected the head of the national museum as the country's new president -- the fifth since the restoration of independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Alar Karis, a biologist by training who also previously worked as state auditor, was the only candidate in the election and was put forward by the ruling Reform and Centre coalition.

To win, a presidential candidate has to get a minimum of 68 votes -- a two-thirds majority in the 101-seat parliament.

In the first round of voting on Monday, Karis got the support of 63 MPs and in the second round on Tuesday, 72.

In a speech to parliament, Karis promised to be a "good partner to all the factions and political forces" as president, a largely ceremonial role.

Karis, born in 1958, is a molecular geneticist and developmental biologist who studied in Britain, Estonia, Germany and the Netherlands and is a professor at Tartu University.

He served as National Auditor of Estonia between 2013 and 2018 and, since 2017, he is director of the Estonian National Museum.

He will take over from President Kersti Kaljulaid on October 11.

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