Riigikogu

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Estonian Parliament
Riigikogu
XII Riigikogu
Type
Type Unicameral
Leadership
President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor, SDE
Since 20 March 2014
Structure
Seats 101
Riigikogu.svg
Political groups Coalition
     RE (35)
     SDE (21)
Opposition
     KE (21)
     IRL (22)
     Independent (2)
Elections
Voting system Party-list proportional representation
Modified D'Hondt method
Last election 6 March 2011
Next election 1 March 2015
Meeting place
Toompea Castle, Tallinn
Website
www.riigikogu.ee
Coat of arms of Estonia.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Estonia

The Riigikogu (from riigi-, of the state, and kogu, assembly) is the unicameral parliament of Estonia. All important state-related questions pass through the Riigikogu. In addition to approving legislation, the Riigikogu appoints high officials, including the Prime Minister and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and elects (either alone or, if necessary, together with representatives of local government within a broader electoral college) the President. 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.

History[edit]

Early elections[edit]

April 23, 1919, the opening session of the Estonian Constituent Assembly is the birthday of the Estonian Parliament.[1] 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. 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[edit]

1938–1940 the National Assembly was divided into two chambers: The Chamber of Deputies (Riigivolikogu) and the National Council (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 – October 5, 1992).

Toompea castle[edit]

Since 1922, the sessions of the Riigikogu have taken place in the Toompea 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 (1940–41), German (1941–44) and second Soviet occupation 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[edit]

In September 1992, a year after Estonia had regained its independence from the Soviet Union, elections to the Riigikogu took place according to the Constitution of Estonia 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 formula (the divisor is raised to the power 0.9). This modification makes for more disproportionality than does the usual form of the formula.

Latest 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% 33Increase2 1.14
  Estonian Centre Party (Eesti Keskerakond) Centrism, Social liberalism 134,090 23.3%Decrease2.8% 26Decrease3 1.1
  Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica (Isamaa ja Res Publica Liit) Conservatism, Liberal Conservatism 118,023 20.5%Increase2.6% 23Increase4 1.11
  Social Democratic Party (Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Erakond) Social democracy, Third Way 98,302 17.1%Increase6.5% 19Increase9 1.1
  Estonian Greens (Erakond Eestimaa Rohelised) Green politics 21,828 3.8%Decrease3.3% 0Decrease6
  People's Union of Estonia (Eestimaa Rahvaliit) Agrarianism 12,192 2.1%Decrease5% 0Decrease6
  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

Current seats allocation[edit]

Riigikogu
Parliament building in Toompea Castle: the seat of the Parliament.

Speakers of the Riigikogu[edit]

1921-1937[edit]

Name Period
Otto Strandman January 4, 1921–November 18, 1921
Juhan Kukk November 18, 1921–November 20, 1922
Konstantin Päts November 20, 1922–June 7, 1923
Jaan Tõnisson June 7, 1923–May 27, 1925
August Rei June 9, 1925–June 20, 1926
Karl Einbund June 20, 1926-July 19, 1932
Jaan Tõnisson July 19, 1932–May 18, 1933
Karl Einbund May 18, 1933–August 29, 1934
Rudolf Penno September 28, 1934–December 31, 1937

Speakers of the Riigivolikogu (lower chamber)[edit]

Name Period
Jüri Uluots 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)[edit]

Name Period
Mihkel Pung April 21, 1938–July 5, 1940

Chairman of the Supreme Council (1990–1992)[edit]

Name Period
Arnold Rüütel March 29, 1990–October 5, 1992

Speaker of the Supreme Council (1990–1992)[edit]

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

Since 1992[edit]

Name Period
Ülo Nugis October 21, 1992–March 21, 1995
Toomas Savi March 21, 1995–March 31, 2003
Ene Ergma March 31, 2003–March 23, 2006
Toomas Varek March 23, 2006–April 2, 2007
Ene Ergma April 2, 2007-March 20, 2014
Eiki Nestor March 20, 2014-present

External links[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]