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Estonian PM seeks to change governing coalition amid crisis


TALLINN, May 21 (RIA Novosti) - Estonia's prime minister is expected on Thursday or Friday to seek the president's approval to dismiss three Cabinet ministers, bringing an end to the three-party coalition government.

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip wants to remove the three Social Democratic ministers, including party leader Ivari Padar, who holds the finance portfolio.

"It would be honest today to recognize that in its present form the ruling coalition can no longer function," Ansip said on Thursday at a news conference. "Therefore I intend today to present to the president a petition to remove the posts of the ministers from the Social Democratic party."

The prime minister's Reform Party and the Pro Patria-Res Publica Union have been at loggerheads with their junior coalition partner over budget cuts that the two main parties see as necessary to get through the economic crisis.

The parties have already started discussions with the opposition People's Union on joining the government.

In addition to the finance minister, the Social Democrats also contribute the interior and population ministers to the government, although Ansip has said he would eliminate the latter post in a future Cabinet.

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