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Estonia: Coalition Party Seeks New Partners

Tallinn, 22 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - Estonia's ruling Coalition Party has started seeking new coalition partners, after The Reform Party's top leaders decided to leave the Government Thursday night. Our Tallinn correspondent reports that six Reform Party's ministers officially submitted their resignations to Prime Minister Tiit Vahi today.

The Reform Party's leaders accused Vahi's Party of dealing with the opposition Center Party. Reform Party Chairman Siim Kallas said a Coalition Party-Center Party alliance would jeopardize Estonia's independence, since, he said, the agreement confirms developing closer relations with Russia.

Kallas told RFE/RL that the Reform Party is not yet ready to pursue a no-confidence vote against Vahi.

The Reform Party has 19 seats in the 101-member Parliament. The governing Coalition Party and rural parties allies hold 39 seats, and an alliance with the Center Party (nine seats) would still leave the Government short of a majority.