Elections in Estonia

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Estonia elects a legislature on the national level. The Riigikogu has 101 members, elected for a four-year term by proportional representation. A head of state - the president - is elected for a five-year term by parliament (1st-3rd round) or an electoral college (4th and subsequent rounds). Locally, Estonia elects local government councils, which vary in size. Election law states the minimum size of a council depending on the size of municipality. Local government councils are elected by proportional representation too.

  • The minimum number of council members is prescribed to be at least 7 seats
  • Over 2,000 inhabitants: at least 13 seats
  • Over 5,000 inhabitants: at least 17 seats
  • Over 10,000 inhabitants: at least 21 seats
  • Over 50,000 inhabitants: at least 31 seats
  • Over 300,000 inhabitants: at least 79 seats

Estonia has a multi-party system with numerous parties. Often no one party has the chance to gain power alone and parties must work with each other to form coalition governments.

Elections have taken place in the following years: Past elections:

  • Riigikogu (parliament): 1992, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011
  • Local/municipal: 1993, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2009, 2013
  • Europarliament: 2004, 2009, 2014
  • Referendums: 2003 (EU)
  • President: 1992 (Lennart Meri), 1996 (Lennart Meri), 2001 (Arnold Rüütel), 2006 (Toomas Ilves), 2011 (Toomas Ilves)

Latest national election[edit]

e • d Summary of the 6 March 2011 Parliament of Estonia election results
Party Ideology Votes % votes Change Seats Swing seats %/
votes %
  Estonian Reform Party (Eesti Reformierakond) Classical liberalism 164,275 28.6% Increase0.8% 33 Increase2 1.14
  Estonian Centre Party (Eesti Keskerakond) Centrism, Social liberalism 134,090 23.3% Decrease2.8% 26 Decrease3 1.10
  Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica (Isamaa ja Res Publica Liit) Conservatism, Liberal Conservatism 118,023 20.5% Increase2.6% 23 Increase4 1.11
  Social Democratic Party (Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Erakond) Social democracy, Third Way 98,302 17.1% Increase6.5% 19 Increase9 1.10
  Estonian Greens (Erakond Eestimaa Rohelised) Green politics 21,828 3.8% Decrease3.3% 0 Decrease6
  People's Union of Estonia (Eestimaa Rahvaliit) Agrarianism 12,192 2.1% Decrease5.0% 0 Decrease6
  Russian Party in Estonia (Vene Erakond Eestis) Russian minority 5,027 0.9% Increase0.7% 0
  Party of Estonian Christian Democrats (Erakond Eesti Kristlikud Demokraadid) Christian democracy 2,927 0.5% Decrease1.2% 0
  Estonian Independence Party (Eesti Iseseisvuspartei) Euroscepticism, Nationalism 2,569 0.4% Increase0.2% 0
  Independents 15,887 2.8% Increase2.7% 0
Total 575,120 100.0% 101

European elections[edit]


The Constitution of Estonia gives the Parliament of Estonia the power to submit a bill or other national issue to a referendum (article 105 of the Constitution[1]). The result of the vote is binding. If a bill which is submitted to a referendum does not receive a majority of votes in favour, the President of the Republic shall declare extraordinary elections to the Parliament.

There are some issues which cannot be submitted to the referendum: issues regarding the budget, taxation, financial obligations of the state, ratification and denunciation of international treaties, the declaration or termination of a state of emergency, or national defence (article 105 of the Constitution[1]).

Some parts of the Constitution (chapters "General Provisions" and "Amendment of the Constitution") can be amended only by a referendum (article 162 of the Constitution[1]). The rest of Constitution can be amended either by

  • a referendum;
  • two successive memberships of the Parliament;
  • the Parliament, as a matter of urgency (article 163 of the Constitution[1]).

A three-fifths majority of the membership of the Parliament is required to submit a bill to amend the Constitution to a referendum (article 164 of the Constitution[1]).

A referendum was called by the Parliament of Estonia on 2 occasions since its independence from USSR was declared:

Also, there was a referendum on Estonian independence in 1991 while Estonian SSR was still a part of USSR.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Constitution of Estonia". Retrieved 2013-11-01.