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Estonia: Meri Reported Ahead In Voting For Presidency

Tallinn, 20 September 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Estonian President Lennart Meri is reported to be ahead in voting today to break the deadlock in choosing the country's president for the next five years.

The Estonian paliament failed three times last month to give either Meri or rival candidate Arnold Ruutel the necessary two-thirds majority for a clear mandate.

In today's voting, Meri received 139 votes from a 374-member electoral college made up of lawmakers and local government officials. That was short of the required majority but comfortably ahead of all the other challengers. The runoff pits Meri against Ruutel, who received 85 votes in today's balloting.