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Pro-NATO Coalition Faces Pro-Kremlin Opposition In Estonian Vote

Voters in Estonia are voting in parliamentary elections that highlight differences between the center-left coalition now in power and a pro-Kremlin opposition party backed mainly by ethnic Russians.

Prime Minister Taavi Roivas is expected to hold on to power on March 1, with opinion polls released on February 28 forecasting his centrist Reform Party with 26 percent compared to 22 percent for the pro-Kremlin Estonian Center Party.

Earlier polls suggested the Center Party had a narrow lead, with support from 97 percent of Estonia's Russian-speaking minority, which makes up a quarter of the population.

But Center lacks potential coalition partners after its leader, Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar, last year pledged his support for Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

The latest opinion polls suggested the Social Democrats would win about 19 percent of the vote and the conservative IRL taking about 16 percent.

Six smaller parties are trying to cross the 5 percent threshold to secure party representation in the 101-seat parliament.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP