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Tallin
Photograph: Photo by Angelo_Giordano, used under CC0

Estonia's three presidential candidates came up empty handed on Monday, all receiving less than the necessary two-thirds majority of parliamentary votes to clinch the election and become the Baltic country's new head of state.

Eiki Nestor of Estonia's Social Democratic Party came the closest to the required 68 votes in parliament's 101 member plenary, receiving support from 40 lawmakers in the secret ballot.

Former education minister Mailis Reps of the Centre Party received 26 votes, while Allar Joks of the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union party (IRL) received 25 votes.

The inconclusive vote means parliamentary members will vote on Tuesday in a second and possibly a third round, during which new candidates for the largely ceremonial post can be nominated.

Siim Kallas, a member of the ruling Reform Party, is expected to run on the second ballot after opting out of the first round on strategic grounds.

If parliament fails to elect a president in the three rounds, an electoral body of regional politicians will convene within one month to elect someone.

The winner will take over for 62-year-old President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who has served the maximum two five-year terms allowed.

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