Head of State of Estonia

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The Head of State of Estonia or State Elder (Estonian: Riigivanem) (a literal translation: Elder of State) was the official title of the Estonian head of state and head of government from 1920 to 1937. He was the equivalent of a prime minister, who also had the duties of a president. With the 1934 constitution, the institution saw a reform and it became the equivalent of a president only as a separate head of government was to be elected. The 1934 coup by Konstantin Päts resulted in the institution never coming to real life as he ruled as the Prime Minister in Duties of the Head of State until 1937.

According to the 1920 Estonian Constitution, which was enforced by the “Constitution of the Republic of Estonia, the Referendum Act and the Citizens’s Initiative Act Implementation Act“ on July 2, 1920, after being approved by the Constituent Assembly on June 16, 1920 (Riigi Teataja August 9, 1920 No. 113/114), the Government of the Republic consisted of the Riigivanem (Head of State) and Ministers (Section 58).

The responsibilities of the Head of State were representing the Republic of Estonia, administration and co-ordination of the activities of the Government of the Republic, chairing the Government meetings; the Head of State had the right to make inquiries about the activities of the Ministers (Section 62). The Government of the Republic appointed one of its members the Deputy of the Elder of State.

Heads of State of the Republic of Estonia, 1920–1934[edit]

Portrait Name Term of Office Political Party Cabinet Legislature Separate
Head of State
Took Office Left Office Days
Ants Piip.jpg Ants Piip
(1884-1942)
1st State Elder
20 December 1920 25 January 1921 37 Labour Party
ETE
Piip
ETE
I Riigikogu
(1920)
None
Konstantin Päts.jpg Konstantin Päts
(1874-1956)
2nd State Elder
25 January 1921 21 November 1922 666 Farmers' Assemblies
(PK)
Päts I
PKETEERKRE
PKERKRE
Juhan Kukk.jpg Juhan Kukk
(1885-1942)
3rd State Elder
21 November 1922 2 August 1923 255 Labour Party
(ETE)
Kukk
ETEPKER
ETEPKERESDTP
ETEPKESDTP
Konstantin Päts.jpg Konstantin Päts
(1874-1956)
4th State Elder
(2nd term)
2 August 1923 26 March 1924 238 Farmers' Assemblies
(PK)
Päts II
PKKREERETE
PKKREER
II Riigikogu
(1923)
Friedrich Akel.jpg Friedrich Karl Akel
(1871-1941)
5th State Elder
26 March 1924 16 December 1924 266 Christian People's Party
(KRE)
Akel
KREETEER
JüriJaakson.jpg Jüri Jaakson
(1870-1942)
6th State Elder
16 December 1924 15 December 1925 365 People's Party
(ER)
Jaakson
ERPKESDTPETEKRE
Jaan Teemant.jpg Jaan Teemant
(1872-1941?)
7th State Elder
15 December 1925 9 December 1927 725 Farmers' Assemblies
(PK)
Teemant I
PKETEKREARVK
PKETEKREARVKRVP
Teemant II
PKARVKKREERÜMSL
III Riigikogu (1926)
Teemant III
PKARVKERKREÜMSL
Jaan Tonisson1928.jpg Jaan Tõnisson
(1868-1941?)
8th State Elder
9 December 1927 4 December 1928 362 People's Party
(ER)
Tõnisson III
ERPKARVKETE
August Rei.jpg August Rei
(1886-1963)
9th State Elder
4 December 1928 9 July 1929 218 Estonian Socialist Workers' Party
(ESTP)
Rei
ESTPARVKETEKRE
Otto Strandman.jpg Otto August Strandman
(1875-1941)
10th State Elder
9 July 1929 12 February 1931 584 Labour Party
(ETE)
Strandman II
ETEARVKPKKREER
IV Riigikogu
(1929)
Konstantin Päts.jpg Konstantin Päts
(1874-1956)
11th State Elder
(3rd term)
12 February 1931 19 February 1932 373 Farmers' Assemblies
(PK)
Päts III
PKERESTP
Jaan Teemant.jpg Jaan Teemant
(1872-1941?)
12th State Elder
(2nd term)
19 February 1932 19 July 1932 152 Union of Settlers and Smallholders
(AVK)
Teemant IV
AVKRKE
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-09721, Karl Einbund.jpg Karl August Einbund
(1888-1942)
13th State Elder
19 July 1932 1 November 1932 106 Union of Settlers and Smallholders
(AVK)
Einbund I
AVKRKE
V Riigikogu
(1932)
Konstantin Päts.jpg Konstantin Päts
(1874-1956)
14th State Elder
(4th term)
1 November 1932 18 May 1933 199 Union of Settlers and Smallholders
(AVK)
Päts IV
AVKRKEESTP
Jaan Tonisson1928.jpg Jaan Tõnisson
(1868-1941?)
15th State Elder
(2nd term)
18 May 1933 21 October 1933 157 National Centre Party
(RKE)
Tõnisson IV
RKEARVK
Konstantin Päts.jpg Konstantin Päts
(1874-1956)
16th State Elder
(5th term)
21 October 1933 24 January 1934 96 Union of Settlers and Smallholders
(AVK)
Päts V
non-party coalition

Head of State of the Republic of Estonia, 1934–1937[edit]

Portrait Name Term of Office Political Party Cabinet Legislature Separate
Head of Government
Took Office Left Office Days
Konstantin Päts.jpg Konstantin Päts
(1874-1956)
Prime Minister
in duties of the State Elder
24 January 1934 3 September 1937 1,319 Union of Settlers and Smallholders
(AVK)
Päts V
non-party coalition
V Riigikogu
(1932)
Prime Minister
(in duties of
the State Elder)

Konstantin
Päts
Patriotic League
(I)
Parliament
disbanded

See also[edit]