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Riigikogu

Riigikogu

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The Riigikogu is the unicameral parliament
Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

 of Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

. All important state-related questions pass through the Riigikogu. In addition to approving legislation, the Riigikogu appoints high officials, including the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Estonia
The Prime Minister of Estonia is the head of government of the Republic of Estonia. The prime minister is nominated by the President after appropriate consultations with the parliamentary factions and confirmed by the Parliament. In case of disagreement, the Parliament can reject the President's...

 and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of Estonia
The Supreme Court of Estonia is the court of last resort in Estonia. It is both a court of cassation and a constitutional court. The courthouse is in Tartu.Chief justices=* Kaarel Parts * Rait Maruste...

, and elects (either alone or, if necessary, together with representatives of local government within a broader electoral college) the President
President of Estonia
The President of the Republic is the head of state of the Republic of Estonia.Estonia is a parliamentary republic, therefore President is mainly a symbolic figure and holds no executive power. The President has to suspend his membership in any political party for his term in office...

. The Riigikogu also ratifies significant foreign treaties that impose military and proprietary obligations, bring about changes in law, etc.; approves the budget presented by the government as law and monitors the executive power.

Early elections


April 23, 1919, the opening session of the Estonian Constituent Assembly
Estonian Constituent Assembly
The Estonian Constituent Assembly was elected on 5-7 April 1919, called by the Estonian Provisional Government during the Estonian War of Independence. The Assembly was elected by proportional representation. Eligible voters included soldiers at the front...

 is the birthday of the Estonian Parliament. The first elections to the Riigikogu took place in 1920. From 1920 to 1938, there were five more elections to the Riigikogu, but several were on the basis of different constitutions.
In 1920–1923 there was a closed list, while from 1926 to 1934 there was an optional open list choice. The basis of election was until 1932 proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

. The elections were on a regional basis, without any threshold in the first two elections, but from 1926 a moderate threshold (2%) was used.

Division


1938–1940 the National Assembly was divided into two chambers: The Chamber of Deputies
Chamber of Deputies
Chamber of deputies is the name given to a legislative body such as the lower house of a bicameral legislature, or can refer to a unicameral legislature.-Description:...

 (Riigivolikogu) and the National Council
National Council
-Conservation:* National Council for Science and the Environment, a US-based non-profit organization which has a mission to improve the scientific basis for environmental decisionmaking...

 (Riiginõukogu).

It was replaced by the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic (August 25, 1940–1990) and the Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia (May 8, 1990 – September 29, 1992).

Toompea castle


Since 1922, the sessions of the Riigikogu have taken place in the Toompea
Toompea
Toompea is a limestone hill in the central part of the city of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. The hill is an oblong tableland, which measures about 400 by 250 metres, has an area of and is about 20–30 metres higher than the surrounding areas...

 castle, where a new building in the exquisite expressionist and in an unusually modern style was erected to the former courtyard of the medieval castle in 1920–1922. During the subsequent periods of Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 (1940–41), German
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 (1941–44) and second Soviet occupation
Occupation of Baltic Republics
The occupation of the Baltic states refers to the military occupation of the three Baltic states: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania by the Soviet Union under the auspices of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact on 14 June 1940 followed by their incorporation into the USSR as constituent republics, unrecognised...

 of Estonia (1944–1991) the Riigikogu was disbanded. The castle and the building of Riigikogu was used by the Supreme Soviet of Estonian SSR.

Independence from the Soviet Union


In September 1992, a year after Estonia had regained its independence from the Soviet Union
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

, elections to the Riigikogu took place according to the Constitution of Estonia
Constitution of Estonia
The Constitution of Estonia is the fundamental law of the Republic of Estonia and establishes the state order as that of a democratic republic where the supreme power is vested in its citizens. It was adopted in a freely elected Estonian Constituent Assembly on 15 June 1920 and came into force on...

 adopted in the summer of the same year. According to the 1992 constitution, the Riigikogu has 101 members. The present Riigikogu was elected on March 4, 2007. The main differences between this system and a pure political representation, or proportional representation, system are the established 5% national threshold, and the use of a modified d'Hondt
D'Hondt method
The d'Hondt method is a highest averages method for allocating seats in party-list proportional representation. The method described is named after Belgian mathematician Victor D'Hondt who described it in 1878...

 formula (the divisor is raised to the power 0.9). This modification makes for more unproportionality than does the usual form of the formula.

Current seats allocation



  • Reform Party
    Estonian Reform Party
    The Estonian Reform Party is a centre-right, free market liberal party in Estonia. It is led by Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, and has 33 members in the 101-member Riigikogu, making it the largest party in the legislature...

     33,
    • leader: Andrus Ansip
      Andrus Ansip
      Andrus Ansip is the current Prime Minister of Estonia, and chairman of the market liberal Estonian Reform Party .-Early life and career:...

      , Prime Minister
      Prime Minister of Estonia
      The Prime Minister of Estonia is the head of government of the Republic of Estonia. The prime minister is nominated by the President after appropriate consultations with the parliamentary factions and confirmed by the Parliament. In case of disagreement, the Parliament can reject the President's...

  • Centre Party
    Estonian Centre Party
    The Estonian Centre Party is a centrist, social liberal party in Estonia. Keskerakond is a member of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party. It has the largest membership of an Estonian party, with over 12 000 members....

     26,
    • leader: Edgar Savisaar
      Edgar Savisaar
      Edgar Savisaar , is an Estonian politician, one of the founding members of Popular Front of Estonia and the leader of the Centre Party. He has served as the acting Prime Minister of Estonia, Minister of Internal affairs and Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications...

  • Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica
    Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica
    Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica is an Estonian Liberal Conservative political party. It was founded on 4 June 2006 when two conservative parties, Pro Patria Union and Res Publica merged. Up to the 2007 parliamentary elections, the party held 32 seats out of 101 in the Riigikogu and one of...

     23,
    • leader: Mart Laar
      Mart Laar
      Mart Laar is an Estonian statesman, historian and a founding member of the Foundation for the Investigation of Communist Crimes. He was the Prime Minister of Estonia from 1992 to 1994 and from 1999 to 2002, and is the leader of the conservative party Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica...

  • Social Democratic Party of Estonia
    Social Democratic Party (Estonia)
    The Social Democratic Party is a social-democratic party in Estonia, led by Sven Mikser. It has been a member of the Party of European Socialists since 16 May 2003 and a member of the Socialist International since November 1990....

     19,
    • leader: Sven Mikser

Speakers of the Riigikogu

Name Period
Otto Strandmann January 4, 1921–November 18, 1921
Juhan Kukk
Juhan Kukk
Juhan ' Kukk VR III/1 was an Estonian politician....

November 18, 1921–November 20, 1922
Konstantin Päts
Konstantin Päts
Konstantin Päts VR I/1 and III/1 was the most influential politician of interwar Estonia. He was one of the first Estonians to become active in politics and started an almost 40-year political rivalry with Jaan Tõnisson, first through journalism with his newspaper Teataja, later through politics...

November 20, 1922–June 7, 1923
Jaan Tõnisson
Jaan Tõnisson
Jaan Tõnisson VR I/3, II/3 and III/1 was an Estonian statesman, serving as the Prime Minister of Estonia twice during 1919 to 1920 and as the Foreign Minister of Estonia from 1931 to 1932.-Early life:...

June 7, 1923–May 27, 1925
August Rei
August Rei
August Rei VR III/1 was an Estonian Social Democratic politician. He was born in Pilistvere, Kõo Parish, Viljandi County.- Education :...

June 9, 1925–June 20, 1926
Karl Einbund
Kaarel Eenpalu
Kaarel Eenpalu was an Estonian journalist, politician and head of state.- Education :...

June 20, 1926-July 19, 1932
Jaan Tõnisson
Jaan Tõnisson
Jaan Tõnisson VR I/3, II/3 and III/1 was an Estonian statesman, serving as the Prime Minister of Estonia twice during 1919 to 1920 and as the Foreign Minister of Estonia from 1931 to 1932.-Early life:...

July 19, 1932–May 18, 1933
Karl Einbund
Kaarel Eenpalu
Kaarel Eenpalu was an Estonian journalist, politician and head of state.- Education :...

May 18, 1933–August 29, 1934
Rudolf Penno September 28, 1934–December 31, 1937

Speakers of the Riigivolikogu (lower chamber)

Name Period
Jüri Uluots
Jüri Uluots
Jüri Uluots was an Estonian prime minister, journalist, prominent attorney and distinguished Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Tartu....

April 21, 1938–October 12, 1939
Otto Pukk October 17, 1939–July 5, 1940
Arnold Veimer July 21, 1940–August 25, 1940

Speaker of the Riiginõukogu (upper chamber)

Name Period
Mihkel Pung
Mihkel Pung
Mihkel Pung was an Estonian politician and a former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia and Speaker of the National Council from April 21, 1938 to July 5, 1940. Pung was arrested by during the Soviet invasion of Estonia and sent to a Sosva, a Soviet gulag in Sverdlovsk oblast...

April 21, 1938–July 5, 1940

Chairman of the Supreme Council (1990–1992)

Name Period
Arnold Rüütel
Arnold Rüütel
Arnold Rüütel OIH was the third President of the Republic of Estonia from October 8, 2001 to October 9, 2006. He was the second President since Estonia regained its independence in 1991....

March 29, 1990–October 5, 1992

Speaker of the Supreme Council (1990–1992)

Name Period
Ülo Nugis March 29, 1990–October 5, 1992

Speakers of the Riigikogu (after 1992)

Name Period
Ülo Nugis October 21, 1992–March 21, 1995
Toomas Savi
Toomas Savi
Toomas Savi is an Estonian politician and in 2004-2009 was a Member of the European Parliament for the Estonian Reform Party, part of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party....

March 21, 1995–March 31, 2003
Ene Ergma
Ene Ergma
Ene Ergma is an Estonian politician, a member of the Riigikogu , and scientist. She is a member of the political party Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica...

March 31, 2003–March 23, 2006
Toomas Varek March 23, 2006–April 2, 2007
Ene Ergma
Ene Ergma
Ene Ergma is an Estonian politician, a member of the Riigikogu , and scientist. She is a member of the political party Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica...

April 2, 2007-Incumbent

External links

Riigikogu's website Riigikogu's website Riigkogu's election law Riigikogu's history