Browse the listing below to find government information for Estonia, including flags, leaders,
and constitution information. Factrover also has complete information on Estonia at its
Estonia Country Page.
Type: Parliamentary democracy.
Constitution: On June 28, 1992 Estonians ratified a constitution based on the 1938 model, offering legal continuity to the Republic of Estonia prior to Soviet occupation.
Branches: Executive--president (chief of state), elected by Parliament every 5 years; prime minister (head of government). Legislative--Riigikogu (Parliament--101 members, 4-year term). Judicial--Supreme Court.
Administrative regions: 15 counties, 42 towns, and 205 municipalities Political parties/coalitions: Estonian Center Party--Chairman, Edgar Savisaar; Estonian Reform Party--Chairman, Siim Kallas/Coalition; Pro Patria Union--Chairman, Mart Laar; Estonian People's Union--Chairman, Villu Reiljan/Coalition; Moderates--Chairman, Ivari Padar; Estonian United People's Party--Chairman, Jevgeni Tomberg; Estonian Social Democratic Labor Party--Chairman, Tiit Toomsalu; Estonian Independence Party--Chairman, Vello Leit; Res Publica--Chairman, Juhan Parts/Coalition; Estonian Christian People's Party--Chairman, Aldo Vinkel; Russian Party in Estonia--Chairman, Stanislav Cherepanov; Estonian Democratic Party--Chairman, Jaan Laas; Republican Party--Chairman, Kristjan-Olari Leping.
Suffrage: 18 years-universal; noncitizen residents may vote in municipal elections.
Government budget: $2.3 billion.
Defense: 2% of GDP.
National holidays: Jan. 1 (New Year's Day), Feb. 24 (Independence Day), Good Friday, Easter Sunday, May 1 (May Day), Whitsunday, June 23 (Victory Day-anniversary of Battle of Vonnu in 1919). June 24 (Midsummer Day), Aug.20 (Day of Restoration of Independence), Dec. 25 (Christmas Day), Dec. 26 (Boxing Day)
On June 28, 1992, Estonian voters approved the constitutional assembly's draft constitution and implementation act, which established a parliamentary government with a president as chief of state and with a government headed by a prime minister.
The Riigikogu, a unicameral legislative body, is the highest organ of state authority. It initiates and approves legislation sponsored by the prime minister. The prime minister has full responsibility and control over his cabinet. Parliamentary and presidential elections were held on September 20, 1992. Approximately 68% of the country's 637,000 registered voters cast ballots. An outstanding writer and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lennart Meri, won on the first ballot and became president. He chose 32-year-old historian and Christian Democratic Party founder Mart Laar as prime minister.
In February 1992, and with amendments in January 1995, the Riigikogu renewed Estonia's liberal 1938 citizenship law, which also provides equal civil protection to resident aliens.
In 1996, Estonia ratified a border agreement with Latvia and completed work with Russia on a technical border agreement. President Meri was re-elected in free and fair indirect elections in August and September in 1996. During parliamentary elections in 1999, the seats in Riigikogu were divided as follows: the Center Party received 28, the Pro Patria Union 18, the Reform Party 18, the Moderates 17 seats. Pro Patria Union, the Reform Party, and the Moderates formed a government with Mart Laar as Prime Minister whereas the Center Party with the Coalition Party, People's Union, United People's Party, and Members of Parliament who were not members of factions formed the opposition in the Riigikogu.
In the fall of 2001 Arnold Rüütel became the President of the Republic of Estonia. In January 2002 Prime Minister Laar stepped down, and President Ruutel appointed Siim Kallas the new Prime Minister. The Reform Party and the Center Party formed a new coalition government in power as of the 28th of January 2002. Parliamentary elections were held on March 2, 2003. A coalition government comprised of the Res Publica, Reform, and the Peoples' Union Parties took office in April 2003. President Rüütel appointed Juhan Parts of Res Publica as Prime Minister.