President for second term

Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who was re-elected for a second term as Estonian president in late August, will be sworn in today.

Ilves, 57, has led the country since October 2006. Estonia’s president is elected for a maximum of two consecutive five-year terms.

In line with Estonian law, the president is elected by Parliament. A total of 72 out of 101 lawmakers supported Ilves’ candidacy in the August 29 vote, with a required minimum of 68 votes.

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Office of the President

Head of land board in bribe scandal

Kalev Kangur, head of the country’s land board, may have received 7.8 million kroons or half a million euros in bribes for allowing preferred businessmen to swap land that they owned in nature protection areas with valuable development land in large cities, mainly Tallinn.

According to the prosecutor, Kangur and the former minister of environmental affairs Villu Reiljan made sure that such prominent businessmen as Toomas Annus, main shareholder of the region’s largest construction group Merko, Tullio Liblik, Einar Vettus and Tarmo Pedjasaar were able to complete such land swaps.

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BBC on the Estonian economy

In its programme The World Tonight, BBC looked at what Estonia, currently the fastest economic growth in the EU, is doing right when other nations are in so much financial trouble?

Estonia as the country has come a long way since it joined the EU in 2004.
An initial influx of credit led to a construction boom and soaring house prices, but the bubble burst in 2008 and when the country found itself in the financial doldrums, it was forced to smarten up its act.

Labour laws were liberalised, the retirement age increased and public spending cut. But taxes stayed low to encourage business; trendy entrepreneurs were born.
Estonia’s GDP grew by 8.5% in the first quarter of the year, the fastest growth of any EU economy. One of the biggest growth areas is technology. Estonia exports mainly to the EU, but exports to its major markets, Finland and Sweden are declining.

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